Yarnell Hill fire two years later

It's hard to believe two years have past since these 19 men lost their lives. I'll never forget the outpouring of concern I received from people I'd not heard of for years, all remembering I used to fight fire, and wondering how I felt about this loss, and offering sympathy, even though I did not know anyone on this crew.

I tend to agree with Grant McKee, that instead of spending millions putting fires out, agencies should spend more on preventative measures including prescribe burns, thinning, and to some extend, letting fires burn. However, the "let it burn" policy is fraught with complications, because if these fires get out of control, they are more dangerous to extinguish and cost more to contain than if they were controlled early on. With so many homes on the edges of wilderness areas, letting fires burn is a tricky proposition at best.

Above all, if crews are going to fight fires, safety comes first. I remember something my my supervisor said in 1976 during training. "No tree is worth a life."


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