The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

September 30, 2013

Experts: Ariz. firefighter probe shows GPS need

PHOENIX (AP) — From the triple-digit temperatures the day before to the gusty winds that kicked up in a matter of hours, nearly every detail leading up the June deaths of 19 Arizona firefighters has been painstakingly spelled out by investigators.

Even though they say proper procedure was followed, the families of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and members of Congress have wasted no time in asking that lessons be learned from the deaths.

The challenge now, experts say, is figuring out how to prevent another tragedy as the threat of wildfire shows no sign of diminishing in the nation's overgrown, drought-stricken forests and foothills. One way, they say, is to invest in GPS tracking technology for firefighters.

"Real-time information on the location of crews and the location of the fire, if those two things had been known, this accident could have been prevented," said Bill Grabbert, a retired wildland firefighter, fire management officer and author.

The results of a three-month investigation released Saturday outline a series of missteps by the crew and commanders who were fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire, but specific causes for the deaths are not included. Grabbert said such "milquetoast-type reports" are the result of federal legislation that opened the door to firefighters potentially being charged criminally for making mistakes while battling a blaze.

"It's critically important that we learn from fires like this," Grabbert said. "But with the guidelines for writing reports like this, you end up with things being soft-pedaled. That makes it difficult, or impossible, to learn lessons that can prevent fatalities."

A year after the deadly Thirtymile Fire in Washington state, Congress approved legislation in 2002 requiring an independent investigation whenever a U.S. Forest Service firefighter dies in an entrapment or burnover. In the Yarnell case, a team of local, state and federal fire experts conducted the investigation since the Granite Mountain Hotshots worked for the city of Prescott.

Text Only
AP National
  • Senate likely to come up short on border bill WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill to deal with the immigration surge at the border appears headed for procedural defeat in the Senate as lawmakers trade blame over their inaction on the crisis. Days ahead of Congress' five-week summer recess, Senate Democrats

    July 30, 2014

  • House set to take up $17B VA overhaul bill WASHINGTON (AP) — With a new Veterans Affairs secretary in place and an August recess looming, Congress is likely to move quickly to approve a compromise bill to refurbish the VA and improve veterans' health care. The House could vote on the $17 bill

    July 30, 2014

  • Trafficking bust reveals worries over missing kids WASHINGTON (AP) — When FBI agents and police officers fanned out across the country last month in a weeklong effort to rescue child sex trafficking victims, they pulled minors as young as 11 from hotel rooms, truck stops and homes. Among the 168 juve

    July 30, 2014

  • The man responsible for Hilton's grand turnaround McLEAN, Va. (AP) — Nearly every weekend, Chris Nassetta is cooking in his family's oversized kitchen, outfitted with two commercial-grade refrigerators, three sinks and a deep fryer. These aren't small meals. Between his wife, six daughters, friends,

    July 30, 2014

  • What's a group selfie? Usie (pronounced uss-ee) NEW YORK (AP) — What do you call a group selfie? An usie, of course! As in "us." Pronounced uss-ee, rhymes with fussy. "Usies are a growing trend that I think have far more social value than selfies," said Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a professor of mark

    July 30, 2014

  • With Israel at war, US lawmakers give full support WASHINGTON (AP) — As the war in Gaza escalates, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military campaign against Hamas. Many even have criticized the administration's effort to

    July 29, 2014

  • Abuse suspect dead; two marshals, NY policeman hurt NEW YORK (AP) — A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a small smoke shop in one of New York's most bustlin

    July 29, 2014

  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute. These consumers fall behind on credit cards or hospital bill

    July 29, 2014

  • Despite good news, benefit programs face problems WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite some good news, Medicare and Social Security still face long-term financial problems as millions of baby boomers reach retirement. Social Security's disability program is already in crisis as it edges toward the brink of ins

    July 29, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR ENTERS FOURTH WEEK — DURATION, DEATHS MATCH FIRST CONFLICT Heaviest bombardment in Gaza yet as Israeli aircraft, tanks and nav

    July 29, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National