This June marks the ten-year anniversary of the day our wildland firefighting community, Arizonans, and the nation will never forget. On June 30, 2013, 19 members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshots lost their lives fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in Yavapai County. To honor those men, the interagency, Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Team has been planning two special memorial events for Friday, June 30, 2023.
First, on Friday morning, the team is arranging a private memorial for Granite Mountain family members at the Arizona Pioneers’ Home Cemetery in Prescott. That afternoon, a public memorial is being planned at the Yavapai County Courthouse Square. The team hopes to conclude and coincide the public memorial as the Courthouse bells begin to ring at 4:32 p.m. Every June 30 at that time, 19 bells chime in memory of the hotshots.
“We will never stop honoring these men, their lives, and the sacrifices they made, not just on June 30, but every day. This was a tragedy for our entire wildland firefighting family and many of us are still trying to process that day. We continue to grieve and try to heal. We can never do enough to show our gratitude to them, but we hope that through these ceremonies we can ensure their memories live on and always remember them in a way they deserve,” says Tony Sciacca, Memorial Team Incident Commander.
Agencies participating on the Memorial Team include local, state and federal cooperators; the City of Prescott, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Prescott Fire Department, Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority, the Prescott National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, and various Phoenix-area fire departments.
As event planning continues, more information will be released over the next few months. A memorial website is also being developed and that address will be shared soon.