Yarnell evacuees may return Saturday

July 03, 2013

A wildfire that killed 19 members of an elite hotshot crew Sunday continues to burn in Arizona. But officials are preparing to let people back into their homes after evacuations.

yarnell fire Yarnell Fire Chief Jim Koile and the Yarnell fire district board met Wednesday. (Photo by Michel Marizco - KJZZ)

More than 650 evacuees are hoping they can return to Yarnell on Saturday to see the damage. Some of those evacuees include members of Yarnell’s fire district board. 

Some board members had barely learned the fate of their own homes. Now they found out just how much work they’ll have to do to get their town ready.

Gary Hatch of the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association spoke to the fire district board.

“You guys will be impacted not only by the fire, but you will be impacted by the fact that the 19 died in your community. Find a way in your hearts to not let that upset you. Because it could’ve happened anywhere," Hatch said.

Yarnell Fire Chief Jim Koile said people will need help.

"Financial assistance. Major financial assistance. Because again a major portion of the people that live there are very low income, if any income whatsoever," Koile said.

Property values will need to be assessed on destroyed homes. For others it’s about basic necessities. Ruptured water lines will need to be repaired. electricity will have to be restored.