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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Northwest Fire District officials said the Ironwood Hotshots crew in southern Arizona will be disbanded after this year's wildfire season.

Officials told the Arizona Daily Star the fire agency will instead focus on core services.

Northwest Fire District Capt. Adam Goldberg said disbanding the crew is a cost-saving measure that will allow the agency to seek a lower tax rate for its subscribers.

Goldberg said the hotshot crew wasn't being cut over fears of expensive lawsuits in the case of a tragedy, like those that followed the Yarnell Fire that killed 19 firefighters near Prescott last June.

He said higher insurance costs weren't anticipated by having the crew.

Full-time employees will be moved to others areas in the agency while the crew's 13 seasonal workers will be let go.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.azstarnet.com

Associated Press,

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