Probe: 30-Minute Radio Blackout Before 19 Arizona Firefighters Died

"PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- A three-month investigation into the June deaths of 19 Arizona firefighters found that the men ceased radio communication for a half hour before they were killed in a wildfire blaze, but did not assign fault. Some family members say that reluctance could put other lives in danger."

"The 120-page report released Saturday found that proper procedure was followed in the worst firefighting tragedy since Sept. 11, 2001. Investigators suggested that the state of Arizona should possibly update its guidelines and look into better tracking technology.

All but one member of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew died June 30 while protecting the small former gold rush town of Yarnell, about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix, from an erratic, lightning-sparked wildfire. Hotshots are elite backcountry firefighters who hike deep into the brush to fight blazes."

The Associated Press had the story September 28, 2013.

Source: AP, 09/30/2013