Prescott remembrance event commemorates 10th anniversary of Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy

Jun 30, 2023, 6:36 PM | Updated: 6:41 pm

PHOENIX — Governor Katie Hobbs proclaimed June 30 as Granite Mountain Hotshots Day during her speech at the public memorial in honor of the 19 elite firefighters who lost their lives fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire 10 years ago.

She was far from the only speaker at Prescott’s 10-year anniversary memorial ceremony on Friday afternoon. The event took place at 3 p.m. near the Yavapai County Courthouse.

“My fervent hope is that we truly never forget,” Prescott Mayor Phil Goode said when he took the podium. “We prepare for the next challenge and maintain that special sense of community support that we all can take so much pride in.”

The event started with 19 ringing bells, each to honor the men who died while trying to take down the deadliest fire in Arizona history.

Earlier in the day, a new mural on the Prescott Chamber of Commerce building depicting the fallen firefighters was officially unveiled.

The men were elite members of the Prescott Fire Department. While they were battling the flames near Yarnell, a tiny community around 90 miles northwest of Phoenix, thunderstorms shifted the winds and whipped up the flames. The blaze trapped the Hotshots in a canyon.

“We owe so much to these 19 men for protecting our community from danger,” Hobbs said at the event.

Firefighting has changed since their sacrifices. Other things never change, like a son’s love for his lost father.

Ryder Ashcraft, the son of fallen firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, was the featured speaker for the afternoon.

“May we honor our fallen by standing taller and by sharing their messages,” he said. “Never forget the souls and symbols that made the Granite Mountain Hotshots who they were. They left a powerful legacy, a mission with a momentum that even death can’t defeat.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Colton Krolak and Jeremy Schnell contributed to this report.

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Prescott remembrance event commemorates 10th anniversary of Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy