PHOENIX - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered flags on all state buildings to be flown at half-staff on June 30 to honor the heroism of 19 firefighters who died eight years ago battling a wildfire near Prescott.
"Even though it’s been eight years the memory of the loss and tragedy still lingers," said John Marsh, father of Eric Marsh.
All but one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew members died on June 30, 2013, while fighting the lightning-caused Yarnell Hill Fire. The crew died as they were overrun by flames in a box canyon. The fire too intense and moving too quickly for their shelters to protect them.
A park built to memorialize the firefighters, in addition to acknowledging those who lost their homes because of the fire, was completed in 2020, and was officially dedicated on June 30, 2021.
"I know that this park is dedicated to the 19, and they gave their everything, and it's also dedicated to all of us who evacuated, and all of those people who lost their homes, so I like that this park is about all of those things, because it was all of that," said Kim Kelso.
Marsh hopes the park will elp bring peace to hearts of those throughout Arizona, especially those in Yarnell.
"The memorial is a very gratifying thing to me, in that people care enough to spend time and money to pay tribute to the hotshots," said Marsh. "Of course, this one also recognizes the loss of all the homes in this area, so they have a place to come reflect and pay tribute to the lost, and also, I hope, that they come to this park and have some good entertainment. The crew would appreciate that."
In a statement, Gov. Ducey said the hotshots defended Arizona communities against the flames without hesitation and "their service remains among the greatest ever known to our state."
More on the Hotshots
- Fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot crews honored with new memorial
- Lone survivor of Granite Mountain Hotshots writes book
- Loved ones of fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots say needed changes have yet to come to fire shelters
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