Southern Arizona Hotshot Fire Crew To Be Disbanded

March 04, 2014

A southern Arizona fire company is eliminating its hotshot wildfire crew to cope with a budget shortfall. The Northwest Fire District in Marana will no longer employ the 20 Ironwood Hotshots starting next year.  

Some of the 120,000 residents the Northwest Fire District serves in the Marana and Tucson area are circulating petitions to save the Ironwood Hotshots. They claim the team will be disbanded to avoid potential lawsuits similar to the ones filed by family members of the 19 Prescott Hotshots killed in last year’s Yarnell Hill Wildfire. 

But, fire district spokesman Adam Goldberg said the cuts are needed because the district is facing a massive deficit. 

“The Yarnell incident was not a factor in this decision. I’ve been in this department for 22 years, and we have not utilized a type one hot shot crew within those 22 years," Goldberg said.

He said insurance rates covering the Ironwood Hotshots did not increase after the Yarnell Fire. But, Goldberg acknowledged that could change after the lawsuits against the city of Prescott and the state are settled. 

The seven full-time Ironwood Hotshots will keep their jobs with the district in Marana.