Three new hires signed the same temporary employment status papers and carry similar job descriptions to most of those members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots team.
Nineteen of the 20-member team died battling an Arizona wildfire near the town of Yarnell in late June.
The city of Prescott says the new hires are not the beginnings of a replacement hotshot crew. A city representative says the three positions are made every summer for forest thinning; a preventative measure to protect the city from wildfires. However, that was also a primary task for the city's Granite Mountain Hotshots crew.
Prescott is the only city in the country with a hotshot crew but since the deadly wildfire, those positions have not been replaced.
"What I'd like to do is have a magic wand and make all the ills of the past go away but that's not reality," Prescott council member Jim Lamerson said.
Fifty days after the fire, the city has 19 empty positions with their tasks being handled by three temp workers. Although the temporary employees won't go into a fire, they share many of the duties hotshot firefighters were tasked with.
Lamerson said he'd like to continue the legacy of the elite group of firefighters but the hang-up is on funding and the city's continuing battle with benefits and liability.
"If the federal government is not going to clean its woods up, if the state won't clean its woods up, if [Yavapai] County won't clean its woods up, by golly, we can take care of that," he said. "The issue is, who foots the bill?"
The already financially stressed city will likely face insurance hikes as a result of the lives lost at the Yarnell Hill Fire. On top of that, the upfront training costs for a new hot shot crew would be another great cost to taxpayers.
Lamerson said assistance from the federal or state governments would be a big step toward the re-establishment of a working hotshot crew in Prescott.
In Arizona, proposed legislation would cover death benefits for firefighters working on state lands. The author, state Rep. Andy Tobin, says the proposed legislation would be retroactive to cover the families of those Granite Mountain Hotshots, who died fighting a wildfire on state grounds.
Arizona agency recommends nearly $560K fine in death of 19 firefighters. State workplace safety inspectors have released their investigation of the Arizona State Forestry Division in regards to the YarnellMore >>
ADOSH claims there were multiple instances of firefighters being "unnecessarily and unreasonably" exposed to the deadly hazards of wildland firefighting.More >>
Tuesday, December 3 2013 7:54 PM EST2013-12-04 00:54:31 GMT
An Arizona agency that investigated workplace violations related to the deaths of 19 firefighters is recommending action against the state Forestry Division. The Arizona Division of Occupational SafetyMore >>
The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health will present its findings Wednesday to the state Industrial Commission.More >>
Tuesday, October 29 2013 11:42 AM EDT2013-10-29 15:42:40 GMT
Richard Taylor hosted a fundraiser at his Happy Barn in Hollandale, WI to help raise money for the Yarnell Fire Department to buy new fire fighting equipment lost in the wildfire that killed 19 firefightersMore >>
A Wisconsin man hosted a fundraiser and collected nearly $50,000 for new fire fighting equipment lost in the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 firefighters on June 30, 2013.More >>
Friday, October 4 2013 1:32 PM EDT2013-10-04 17:32:24 GMT
One of the fallen Prescott Hotshots will be honored tonight at his old school. Travis Carter was a student at Orme School, a preparatory school near Mayer, starting in 1993. He was considered an outstandingMore >>
One of the fallen Prescott Hotshots will be honored tonight at his old school.More >>