A bill funding a memorial site honoring the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died last year’s Yarnell Hill Fire has been passed by a committee in the Arizona House. As Arizona Public Radio’s Parker Olson reports, the representatives also created a committee to oversee the project.
The House unanimously approved half a million dollars for the site. A new committee made up of relatives of the firefighters killed, as well as state representatives and officials from the State Parks Board, would oversee the memorial and administer the fund. Arizona State representative Karen Fann sponsored the bill with support from Speaker of the House Andy Tobin and Majority Whip Steve Pierce.
Tobin says he wants the site to remain untouched.
“My hope for the memorial site long-term is that this ground be forever protected from development. And I think that it’s important that a loss of this nature where people from around the world were reaching out to this community after such a tragedy — I think this is basically a response, in a way, a thank you to them,” Tobin says.
The bill would also establish a fund of both donated and taxpayer money to maintain the memorial once it’s completed. All but one of the 20 hotshots on the Prescott-based crew perished June 30 when flames overtook their position near Yarnell.