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Memorial park for fallen Yarnell hotshots to open in 2016

(City of Prescott Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona State Parks will open its first memorial park to honor the 19 fallen firefighters from the Yarnell Hill Fire later this year.

According to Executive Director of Arizona State Parks Sue Black although the land was only purchased a year ago, the Granite Mountain Hotshot Memorial State Park is set to open sometime during November or December.

Within the park will be a two-mile trail. Every tenth of a mile or so will be marked as a tribute to each of the fallen firefighters. The end of the trail will look over into the site of the fatalities, which has been protected since the accident.

“This is one of, if not the most, touching projects I’ve ever worked on,” Black said.  “It’s a labor of love for everyone that’s involved.”

Almost three years ago, 19 men lost their lives while trying to contain the fire outside of Yarnell. It was the largest loss of firefighter life since Sept. 11.

“Given what’s happening now and the third anniversary, it’s an honor to be a part of a project with this type of sensitivity to what has happened,” Black said.

The town of Yarnell is currently being threatened by the Tenderfoot Fire, which is burning in close proximity to the site of the fire that claimed so many lives three years ago.