US judge asked to pause Yarnell Hill Fire lawsuit

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- A wrongful-death lawsuit stemming from the deaths of 19 firefighters in the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire may be paused because the state and victims' survivors have agreed to participate in mediation, a step toward a possible settlement.

Lawyers for the sides on Friday asked a U.S. District Court judge to put the court case on hold for now.

Their joint motion said Arizona's workplace safety agency also has agreed to participate in so-called "global mediation."

The state Forestry Division is contesting citations and fines imposed by the safety agency for the June 30, 2013 deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

The joint motion said a stay would "allow all parties to focus their efforts on resolution" of the case until mediation is completed March 3.

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