PHOENIX — The man known as the father of the Granite Mountain Hotshots said it’s going to be tough knowing his hotshots won’t be home for the holidays.
Prescott Wildland Fire Division Chief Darrell Willis started the Granite Mountain Hotshots in 2001 and on June 30, 19 of the teams 20 members died when the Yarnell Hill Fire overtook them after a dramatic shift in the wind direction in a canyon in Yarnell.
Willis said the toughest days are still ahead.
“We’re starting to heal. There has been a lot of activity and tremendous support for the families internationally and the reality is starting to hit us even harder with the holidays here. I had these guys over to my house for dinner. I knew them, their wives and kids, one of Granite Mountain team members dated my daughter. My son was on the team in 2007.”
Willis responded to a question that has been asked many times since the tragedy on June 30: Will the Granite Mountain Hotshots be reformed with new team members?
“No, right now no,” he said. “It’s very complicated with the workman’s comp, the insurance pool. The city is expecting a huge payout for the life of the families for workman comp benefits and the premiums are going to be high.”
And even though Willis doesn’t believe that the Granite Mountain team will ever be brought back with new members, that doesn’t mean the rebuilding isn’t underway.
“I’m pulling together a fuels crew to do some work made up of seasonal Prescott National Forest hotshots to help us do work this winter around town,” he said. “There’s plenty of work to do.”
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Water tips to save money, help save the Earth
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life
- 5 potential warning signs about your child's development