A deputy director for the Arizona forestry division says four of the seven recommendations by the Yarnell Fire investigative task force have been put into practice, and two others are ongoing. A seventh recommendation that involves bringing a "human factors" expert to evaluate the tragedy has not been incorporated.
"We are still evaluating whether that is a door we want to open at this point," said Joy Hernbrode, Arizona Forestry Division Deputy Director of Administrative Services.
The task force's recommendations include the approach to mitigating wildfires, developing protocols on when to use "emerging fire suppression tools" such as large air tankers, implementing stricter guidelines regarding when to call in large air attacks, and improving the communications plan between supervisors and crews.
Hernbrode said the state is just weeks away from officially implementing another recommendation: giving wildland fire "staff rides" to firefighters. The educational tours of the site of the Yarnell fire will allow firefighters to experience up close the factors involved in 2013 tragedy.
In 2013, the lightning-sparked Yarnell Hill Fire took the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots. The fire trapped the hotshots behind a wall of flame too intense for their protective shelters.
"Because of legal issues, normally a staff ride takes 10 years to develop. We are close just a few weeks away from being ready," Hernbrode said.
Fire suppression leaders are also still in the process of upgrading technology that is used to assess wildfires.