Places to remember and reflect on the Granite Mountain Hotshots
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - This weekend marks ten years since Arizona lost an elite firefighting team, the Granite Mountain Hotshots. There are many places the public can honor and learn about these men who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Park
Hiking in rough terrain was nothing new for these skilled woodland firefighters. While fighting blazes, they would log countless miles on foot, going deep into wooded areas.
To honor their sacrifice, a memorial park was dedicated in 2016. It gets high praise from friends and family of the hotshots. “My personal opinion is that the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park is probably the most fitting tribute to them and maybe one they would most approve of.”
Karen Norris lost her son Scott that June day. He was an avid hiker and adventurer. She says the difficult hike is what makes this tribute so fitting. It allows people to walk in their steps. It is a very difficult hike. When the crew came into contact with it ten years ago... it was even harder. Norris says, “When they came through that area it was all grown up with brush and boulders and there was no clearing. This has been cleared.”
You can access the entrance to the trail off 89A, but parking there is extremely limited. The Yarnell Fire Department provides a shuttle to ease the parking congestion. The trail is lined with information about the hotshots. “They start with the superintendent Eric Marsh, and then Jesse Steed. And so it goes in seniority of rank, and they are, they are placed 600 feet apart,” said Norris.
Yarnell Hill Fire Memorial Park
If you can’t make that hike, there is another memorial that is much easier to get to. You will find it in the town of Yarnell. Frances Lechner was one of many in the town who played a key role in getting that built. “We felt that we owed it to the hotshot to the community and to the world that we have a place of honor here for it was a hotshots.”
Lechner has been part of the Yarnell Recovery and Area Resource groups. It took time, but the memorial about the hotshots and the town itself was completed in 2021. She says for those who see it in person, it’s very touching. “A couple of friends of mine who had come down to visit the first time they saw the sculpture. They were just so struck by it. I mean it’s really moving.” The town holds annual memorials on June 30 and holds Sunrise Easter services there.
The recovery group recently transferred the park to be overseen by the State Park Service, the same park ranger who takes care of the site where the men died will now take care of this.
Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning and Tribute Center
In the town of Prescott, you can visit the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew learning and tribute center. Their goal is to educate people about fire danger and to help them learn about the hotshots and their mission. Located in Gateway Mall and run entirely by volunteers. They are open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
See a spelling or grammatical error in our story? Please click here to report it.
Do you have a photo or video of a breaking news story? Send it to us here with a brief description.
Copyright 2023 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.