Tag Archives: Yarnell

Yarnell Memorial Concepts Will Be Unveiled Tonight

Keith Zimmerman‎ | Yarnell Hill

Keith Zimmerman‎ | Yarnell Hill

At a community meeting tonight in Yarnell, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture will present three design concepts for a memorial to the 19 firefighters who died in last year’s Yarnell Hill Fire.

“The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is honored to work with the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group to help the community of Yarnell remember the fire that took the lives of the 19 hotshot firefighters and devastated large parts of the town,” Viktor Sidy, an architect from the school, says in a statement. “In our designs we propose a park that includes portions dug into the earth to find protection and solace, introduces water as a metaphor for overcoming the destructive power of fire, plants trees as living memorials to those whose lives were lost, and incorporates charred objects found after the fire to remember those who lost their homes. In various ways, these designs use the annual journey of the sun to mark the exact date and time of the loss of the 19 firefighters.”

The Frank Lloyd Wright team will present the three concepts for feedback from the community. Based on that feedback, a final design will be created.

The meeting is open to the public. It’s at 5:30 p.m. tonight at Yarnell Community Presbyterian Church, 16455 W. Table Top Way in Yarnell. For more information, visit the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group’s website.

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Celebrate the 45th Annual Yarnell Daze This Saturday

Courtesy of Yarnell Daze

Courtesy of Yarnell Daze

If you’re planning on attending this weekend’s annual Yarnell Daze celebration — appropriately called Don’t Take Yarnell for Granite — keep in mind that State Route 89 in Yarnell (mileposts 276-278) will be reduced to one lane on Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Traffic will be guided through town by a pilot car, so expect some delays.

This year’s Yarnell Daze is especially significant after last year’s devastating Yarnell Hill Fire. “The town remembers the 19 men who lost their lives and hopes to honor them by celebrating the thousands of volunteers who have worked so hard to help rebuild our tiny community,” says Jerry Florman, this year’s Yarnell Daze chairman. “The event has taken on a life of its own. There have been so many people calling who want to be a part of it. There is a tremendous amount of energy coming into our lovely mountaintop town. … It’s just awesome.”

Visitors to this year’s fest can expect plenty of fun-filled events, including a parade, car show, beer garden, food, live music, lots of vendors, an antique marketplace and, of course, tons of stuff for the kids — think ice-cream-eating contest.

For more information about Yarnell Daze, visit, www.y-pvchamber.com/YarnellDaze.htm.
For more information about this weekend’s lane restriction, e-mail projects@azdot.gov or call the ADOT Project Hotline at 1-855-712-8530. You can also visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center at www.az511.gov or call 511.

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A First-Person Account of the Yarnell Hill Fire

Facebook photo courtesy of DeEtte Bennett Viterbo

Facebook photo courtesy of DeEtte Bennett Viterbo

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cheryl Tupper and her husband, Gary Wallen, own the T-Bird Café in Peeples Valley. After the Yarnell Hill Fire devastated the area and claimed the lives of 19 firefighters, Tupper contacted Arizona Highways to share her account of the fire and its aftermath. Read her story here, and learn more about the T-Bird Café in our November issue.

June 30 is scarred into our minds and our communities. At 2 p.m., we were thinking we’d dodged the bullet, and that the small brush fire I could see out my front door would become nothing more than that. 2 a.m. found me awake, watching a line of the last of my neighbors leaving everything behind them, and praying for the 19 young men on the hill.

We’d heard about the radio call that they were deploying fire shields, and we’d held onto hope. “Please let these young men, these heroes, be all right … please!” cried my friend, shaking.

I was standing outside when the wind changed. It had been a slow, steady wind from the south, blowing the fire into the trap set for it: a break set up to protect the residential part of Peeples Valley. Then, all of a sudden, monsoon winds from the north drove the fire back toward Yarnell at speeds of up to 22 feet per second.

My stepson, whose house was one of the first to be destroyed, says his evacuation was the most stressful thing he’s ever been through. Trying to get his roommate’s freaked-out little dog into the car, he looked up and saw a wall of fire descending on his house. He and his roommates ran for their lives — embers falling on them, fumbling to start the car, neighbors all trying to navigate the smoke-filled, winding path out of Glen Ilah.

Next door, his older sister was getting their mother out. From her perspective, it was a ball of fire coming straight at them. They barely escaped, with singed hair and without the cat.

Then came a frantic call from our youngest, just graduated from high school. She hadn’t had time to get her dogs. She’d tried. She’d borrowed large carriers and had them all set out. But at the end, there hadn’t been time.

Later came the terrible news of the 19 fallen firefighters.

Our home and café were not in immediate danger, so we stayed behind with our next-door neighbors, veterinarians, to help out as we could. They helped care for displaced animals. We fed people until we ran out of food.

Red Cross and Christian and Buddhist relief workers offered immediate shelter and support; housewives collected and distributed donated goods; and everybody with a strong back helped fill the 30,000 sandbags we’ll need when monsoon rains hit our ravaged landscape.

As webmaster for our community website, I worked through those awful first days to transform the site into an emergency resource, so my far-flung community might find some common ground and know where to turn for help.

The communities of Yarnell, Glen Ilah and Peeples Valley (the Tri-Cities, we laughingly call them) will never be the same. According to the sheriff’s survey, the fire destroyed homes at 129 addresses in these tiny towns. But we have already started rebuilding. And while the community has been flung apart, it has also been brought together. My extended family here is now tighter than ever.

—Noah Austin, Associate Editor

 

 

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Honoring 19 Fallen Heroes

As you know, the wildfire in Yarnell has not only devastated the tiny Arizona town near Prescott; on Sunday afternoon, it also claimed the lives of 19 hotshot firefighters, making Sunday the deadliest day for firefighters in the U.S. since September 11, 2001.

Yesterday, Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo read the names of the 19 fallen heroes. We honor your service and we pray that you will never be forgotten. May you each rest in peace.

— Andrew Ashcraft, 29

— Kevin Woyjeck, 21

— Anthony Rose, 23

— Eric Marsh, 43

— Christopher MacKenzie, 30

— Robert Caldwell, 23

— Clayton Whitted , 28

— Scott Norris, 28

— Dustin Deford, 24

— Sean Misner, 26

— Garret Zuppiger, 27

— Travis Carter, 31

— Grant McKee, 21

— Travis Turbyfill, 27

— Jesse Steed, 36

— Wade Parker, 22

— Joe Thurston, 32

— William Warneke, 25

— John Percin, 24

There is a sacredness in tears. 
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. 
They speak more eloquently than ten 
thousand tongues. 
They are messengers of overwhelming grief…
and unspeakable love.
–Washington Irving

Words can’t convey how saddened we are by this horrific tragedy, and like so many of you in Arizona and across the country, we want to help.

Below is a list of organizations that are accepting donations both for the families of the 19 firefighters and for the residents of Yarnell, many of whom lost their homes to the blaze.

As for the fire, it has consumed more than 8,000 acres and is currently at zero percent containment.

100 Club’s HEROS Fund in memory of the Granite Mountain Hotshots

Red Cross Arizona/Grand Canyon Chapter

Prescott Firefighter’s Charities

Bashas’ supermarkets (Food City, AJ’s)

Arizona Diamondbacks

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