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Former Arizona fire superintendent sues feds over Yarnell fire records

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — A former superintendent of an elite Arizona firefighting team sued the government for concealing the air-to-ground transcripts and recordings of the fire that killed 19 firefighters in 2013 at Yarnell Hill.

Fred Schoeffler filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in Federal Court against the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Jan. 6.

In Schoeffler’s lawsuit, he said the U.S. Department of Agriculture denied his public-records request for the Forest Service’s radio transmissions among the employees running an aerial firefighting study during the time of the fire.

The USDA responded by saying they could not find any records relating to his requests, and that they would send his request to the Washington Office FOIA Service Case Center Center for processing.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting team were in a somewhat safe distance from the fire, but without reason, they moved to an unburned section of the mountainside, though trapping themselves in wind-shifted flames.

The Yarnell Hill Fire burned 8,400 acres from June 28 through July 10, and destroyed 127 buildings in the area.

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