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Updated Jul 26, 2013 - 1:54 pm

Prison firefighting crew and others working to protect 'hallowed ground' in Yarnell

YARNELL -- Almost one month after the Yarnell Hill wildfire took the lives of 19 Granite Mountain hotshots, crews are at work trying to protect the site where they died from flooding out.

Yarnell received heavy rain Friday. Jim Paxon with the Arizona State Forestry said a 20-person firefighting crew from Lewis Prison along with others from various state agencies have moved into the canyon to place 400 sandbags where the 19 firefighters deployed their shelters on June 30.

"All of that water has to go somewhere," Paxon said. "There's no brush, grass, vegetation to hold the water back. This is steep country. It comes out of these canyons with a lot of velocity."

The prison crew helping deploy sandbags Friday was on the Yarnell Hill fire Saturday June 29 and worked through June 30. The Lewis crew is one of five prison firefighting teams. Four made up of all men, the other crew is all women.

For volunteer, fundraising and other ways to assist those affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire, go to

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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