Kyle Dickman, Outside magazine’s associate editor and a former hotshot firefighter, pieces together the final hours of Prescott, Arizona’s Granite Mountain Hotshots, the elite team of firefighters who battled the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013. Nineteen of the crew’s 20 members would perish:
“The hotshots who’d brought their phones texted or called their loved ones. Another sawyer, Scott Norris, who’d come to Granite Mountain this season after four years on a Forest Service hotshot crew in Payson, Arizona, texted with his girlfriend, Heather.
“Heather: ‘I had a weird dream I proposed to Scott last night.’ Then, ‘Oh, hi. That was meant for Sarah!’
“Scott: ‘I’m a little old fashioned. I think I’d like to be the one to propose.’
“Scott: ‘Just watched a DC3 slurry bomber nearly collide midair with a Sikorsky helicopter.’
“Heather: ‘Holy hell! That certainly would have made the news.’
“Scott: ‘This fire is going to shit burning all over and expected 40+ mile per hour wind gust from t-storm outflow. Possibly going to burn some ranches and houses.’
“And finally, when the fire was racing straight at Donut, Scott texted a final photo of flames filling the valley below them: ‘Holy shit! This thing is running at Yarnell!’”