Memorial events planned for 10-year mark of Granite Mountain Hotshot tragedy
Main public commemoration set for 3 p.m. Friday, June 30 on Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza
The 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died nearly 10 years ago fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire will be remembered this month in a number of commemorations, both public and private.
From an unveiling of a new Hotshots mural at the corner of Montezuma and Goodwin streets in downtown Prescott to a commemoration of the opening five years ago of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning and Tribute Center to a large memorial event on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, the public will have opportunities to pay their respects to the elite firefighters who died in the Yarnell Hill fire on June 30, 2013.
In the past several months, as the 10-year mark of the tragedy has approached, a multi-jurisdictional group called the Granite Mountain Memorial Team has been working to plan the commemoration event on the courthouse plaza for Friday, June 30, 2023.
This past week, the team announced the final plans for the event, noting that the public memorial will take place at the Yavapai County Courthouse in downtown Prescott at 3 p.m., Friday, June 30.
Invited speakers include: Prescott Mayor Phil Goode; City of Prescott Fire Chief Holger Durre; Department of Forestry and Fire Management State Forester Thomas Torres; Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs; and Ryder Ashcraft, son of fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot Andrew Ashcraft.
In addition, Brendan McDonough, surviving member of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew (GMIHC), will read the Hotshot Prayer.
The hour-and-a-half-long event will also include a reading of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Day proclamation, presentations by the Honor Guard, Pipes and Drums, along with a Missing Man Formation flyover out of Luke Air Force Base.
“The local honor guard will ring 19 bells in honor of the men, and the courthouse bells will also toll 19 times to conclude the event,” the Granite Mountain Hotshots Commemoration Team news release stated.
The event will come with street closures in downtown Prescott, including: On Friday, June 30, the City of Prescott will close down Goodwin Street from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and a portion of Cortez from noon to 9 p.m. The closures will allow for event apparatus staging, Granite Mountain family parking and to accommodate other events taking place that day.
“The City of Prescott asks visitors to be mindful of the road closures and parking situation and to plan for extra time if attending the public commemoration,” the news release states.
Agencies participating on the Granite Mountain Hotshots Commemoration Team include local, state and federal cooperators: the City of Prescott; the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management; Prescott Fire Department; Prescott Police Department; Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority; the Prescott National Forest; the Bureau of Indian Affairs; the Bureau of Land Management; and the City of Scottsdale and various Phoenix-area fire departments. The Phoenix fire departments will provide backfill assistance and respond to emergency and medical calls to allow Prescott Fire Department and Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority personnel to attend the ceremony.
More information on the June 30 event can be found on the City of Prescott’s website at https://www.experienceprescott.com/things-to-do/events/gmihcmemorial/.
A number of other local events are also being planned to commemorate the Hotshots, including:
• 11:30 a.m. June 28, Prescott Chamber of Commerce, 117 W. Goodwin St., Prescott – a Hotshot Tribute Mural Reveal of the mural that is being created at the corner of Montezuma and Goodwin streets on the exterior wall of the Chamber of Commerce building.
• 11:30 a.m. June 29, Granite Mountain Hotshot Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning and Tribute Center at the Prescott Gateway Mall, 3250 Gateway Boulevard, Prescott. The event will commemorate Granite Mountain Hotshot tragedy and the five-year anniversary of the opening of the center in 2018.
Other events that are in the works include a possible unveiling of the statue that is being planned on the courthouse plaza on the Cortez Street side. The Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Partnership announced this past week that fundraising is still ongoing to help pay for additional costs for the monument due to rising transportation and materials costs. Organizers say they still hope to have the statue in place before the June 30 10-year mark of the tragedy.
Prescott Community Outreach Manager John Heiney said a number of private events for the families of the fallen Hotshots are also being planned, although those events will not be open to the public.
Meanwhile, restoration work has also been underway at the Granite Mountain Hotshots Cemetery at the Pioneer Home Cemetery. A news release this past week reported that Prescott Landscape Professional and Horizon, a division of ProWater Irrigation, is donating their labor and supplies to do renovation work at site, including cleanup, re-leveling, and installation of artificial grass.
“The work will be completed before June 30 in preparation for a private family gathering at the cemetery,” the news release states.
In addition, residents who wish to learn more about the community during the days after the 2013 tragedy can visit the online Virtual Museum that showcases Tribute Fence Preservation Project and the many articles and memorials that were placed on the fence around the Hotshots’ fire station on Sixth Street. The museum is available online at https://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/nodes/view/281.
Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-445-3333, ext. 2034, or email@example.com.
Sign up for our e-News Alerts