On June 30, 2013, Eric Marsh ordered his crew, the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshots to their deaths

on the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona over the repeated objections of his assistant crew boss, Captain Jesse

Steed who was burned to death with 17 crewmen under his command because he ultimately followed

Marsh's orders. Eric Marsh's inexcusable decisions, willful criminal negligence and wanton disregard for

human life resulted inarguably the single worst loss of life of wildland firefighters (19) on a fire in history

and almost doubled the total number hotshots killed on all other wildfires (24) in the line of duty since

hotshot crews were first created by the U.S. Forest Service in southern California in 1947-1948.


What happened on the Yarnell Hill Fire was unimaginable...right up to the minute it became our reality and

was the single biggest blunder in wildland firefighting history that shook us to our very core. Marsh's

blatant disregard for almost all of the safety rules and guidelines that were developed to keep wildland

firefighters safe at the cost of countless lives over more than 100 years in the United States were

catastrophic and can't be overstated. Marsh's reckless actions were completely off all of the known

disaster fire charts and graphs and caused everyone to recalibrate their own Disaster Fire O'Meters by

redefining the very term itself.


Unfortunately, "The Big Lie" is being perpetuated by the
100 Club of Arizona and the Eric Marsh

Foundation for Wildland Firefighters. Please contact them and ask them to stop telling lies about what

happened on the Yarnell Hill Fire to the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew. The lives of more

wildland firefighters are at risk because of their lies and irresponsible behavior


Once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, but three times is a pattern or an enemy action. There were

the El Cariso Hotshots on the Loop Fire of 1966, the Mormon Lake Hotshots on the Battlement Creek Fire

of 1976, and now...the Granite Mountain Hotshots on the Yarnell Hill Fire of 2013. On a side note, I

consider the deaths of 9 hotshots, which was an entire squad of the Prineville Hotshots on the South

Canyon Fire (which is often mistakenly called the Storm King Mountain Fire) of 1994 to be in a category

by itself although many of both the primary and secondary causal factors were the same as the other

three hotshot disaster fires in history.


And although there have been dozens of disaster wildfires that have killed many hundreds of wildland

firefighters, I am a student of only the Loop, the Battlement Creek, the South Canyon and now the Yarnell

Hill Fires because those are the only wildfires that killed hotshots, which is all I ever was as a wildland

firefighter or ever wanted to be. Not all wildland firefighting crews are designated as elite Type 1A hotshot

crews, the best of the best, the grunts, the ground pounders, the knuckle draggers, the elite WF front line

infantry and the tip of the spear...Hooah!


And although I love and care about all WF equally, I love and care about hotshots the most. And yes...I

realize that is a paradoxical statement, but it is true nevertheless. I don't believe that WF are made, I

believe they are born and then some cultivate it while others don't. And one WF can usually recognize

another one by the unmistakable light in each other's eyes when they talk about fightin' fire because they

know they have met and are talking to a kindred spirit. You have to have that WF spirit otherwise it's just a

job. And believe me...it's not that hard to find a better job almost anywhere you look. But...it's nearly

impossible to find a better calling or way of life no matter where you look.


Only a very small percentage of crews qualify for this rating which included the Granite Mountain

Interagency Hotshot Crew as there are only a little more than 100 hundred hotshot crews in the nation out

of thousands of wildland fire fighting crews. In my day on the fire line there were only 50 such crews and

all of those were fielded by the U.S. Forest Service and were called Interregional Hotshot Crews. But a

couple of supremely arrogant men (Chief Darrel Fuckin' Willis and former Prescott National Forest Fire Staff Ed

Hollenshead) thought it was a good idea for a small town city structural fire department to sponsor a

hotshot crew for braggin' rights and a means to bilk the federal government out of boocoo FIRE dollars

while creating a revenue neutral (bureaucratic double speak for FREE) hotshot crew. But the City of

Prescott found out the only thing more expensive than a hotshot crew is a dead hotshot crew, stupid fucks!   


The circumstances and the conditions surrounding the hotshot deaths on these other fires were nowhere

near as shocking as those on the Yarnell Hill Fire for too many reasons to discuss in this format. The

inexplicable decisions made by Marsh on the Yarnell Hill Fire have left the wildland firefighting world

dumbfounded and turned upside down. We know exactly why all other hotshots died on the other three

hotshot disaster fires, but even after all of this time has passed, wildland firefighters are still searching for

some logical explanation to understand why Marsh killed his crew other than...sometimes bad things

happen to good people.


That explanation is unacceptable and is all the Yarnell Hill Fire Serious Accident Investigation Team

concluded in their
Yarnell Hill Fire Serious Accident Investigation Report, which reads like what it is...a

poorly written bureaucratic contradictory, deceptive, and disingenuous doublespeak cover up that was

created to serve only one purpose...to shield the Arizona Division of Forestry and the Yarnell Hill Fire

Command Staff (Overhead) from civil liability. The cumulative decisions made by the Yarnell Hill Fire

Overhead Team were staggering in their level of sheer incompetency and gross negligence. Or as former

Prescott Fire Department Wildlands Division Chief Darrell Willis has proclaimed,
"It was just  one of those

things that happened. You can call it an accident. I just say that God had a different plan for that crew at

this time", and I say that is nonsense!


The article I linked to says the following in part, "The voice of what actually happened, we’ll never know,

Willis says. We’re not going to have that information from [the dead men]. Willis continues, it was just

one of those things that happened. You can call it an accident. I just say that God had a different plan for

that crew at this time. Willis' invocation of a spiritual cause for the hotshots’ deaths has triggered sharp

criticism from former wildland firefighters interviewed for this story.


If you accept that this horrific catastrophe — unprecedented in the history of hotshots — is because God

had a different plan for those 19 men, then you are not going to go beyond God’s will for causal factors,

and that means you’re going to leave the door open for this to happen again,” says Gary Olson, a former

superintendent of Arizona's Happy Jack Hotshots, founder of the Santa Fe Hotshots, and, later, a U.S.

Bureau of Land Management criminal investigator."


So sayeth I, Gary L. Olson, former U.S. Forest Service wildland firefighter, Prescott National Forest, hotshot
crew boss of the Happy Jack Interagency Hotshot Crew, Coconino National Forest, hotshot crew founder and
crew boss of the Santa Fe Interagency Hotshot Crew, Santa Fe National Forest, Assistant District Fire
Management Officer of the Espanola Ranger District, Santa National Forest, Santa Fe National Forest
Dispatcher, Zone Interagency Fire Operations Center Coordinator, Coconino County (Arizona) Deputy Sheriff,
Santa Fe National Forest Chief Law Enforcement Officer and retired Supervisory Criminal Investigator and
Senior Special Agent BLM New Mexico State Office, BLM Arizona State Office & USDI - BLM Washington D.C.
Office of Law Enforcement and Security (1974 - 2006, Duty Stations - Prescott, AZ, Flagstaff AZ, Santa Fe, NM,
Phoenix, AZ, Albuquerque, NM, Farmington, NM, & Phoenix, AZ, 2.0).

God Bless America and our Wildland Firefighters!        

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,
people will eventually come to believe it."
Joseph Goebbels, Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda

The Big Lie
You told me, I see you rise
But, it always falls
I see you come, I see you go
You say, "All things pass into the night"
And I say, "Oh no sir I must say you're wrong
I must disagree, oh no sir, I must say you're wrong"
Won't you listen to me
You told me, I've seen it all before
Been there, I've seen my hopes and dreams
A lying on the ground
I've seen the sky just begin to fall
And you say, "All things pass into the night"
And I say, "Oh no sir, I must say you're wrong
I must disagree, oh no sir, I must say you're wrong"
Won't you listen to me
Good-bye horses I'm flying over you
Good-bye horses I'm flying over you