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Tempe Fire begins training based on Yarnell disaster

PHOENIX — The Tempe Fire Department has started a training program based on the course of events that claimed the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots while fighting a wildfire last summer near Yarnell, Ariz.

“There are lessons to be learned from what happened,” Assistant Fire Chief John Valenzuela said. “We want to understand what happened so that a tragedy like that never happens again.”

Department leaders were first to receive the training from a “well-recognized and talented” wildland firefighter, Tempe Fire Capt. Todd Foster, who was deployed to the Yarnell Hill Fire.

After the fire was extinguished, Foster was sent back to Yarnell to study the tragedy and compile a training program for the department.