Yarnell Water And Fire Agencies Struggle To Recover

October 15, 2013

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An Arizona House committee met Tuesday to learn about the benefits paid to survivors of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. It also heard about the difficult recovery facing the town of Yarnell.

The Yarnell Hill fire was so hot some of the town’s water pipes melted, according to a state employee who spoke at the meeting. A skeleton staff at the Yarnell Water Improvement Association is patching hundreds of leaks, and the system is losing 40 percent of the water that gets pumped through.

Former Phoenix Councilman Claude Mattox has been doing government outreach for Yarnell Water and for the local Fire District. It is also hurting, with outdated equipment and just a few full-time firefighters.

"They’re very proud of what they’re accomplishing on their own, but damn they need help. They need a lot of help," Mattox said. "They need a lot of financial support, emotional support, and anything that comes from these discussions that will assist the community certainly would be appreciated."

Damage from the fire means the base of residents and the pool of property tax money that fund water and fire services have shrunk. Both agencies are pursuing a combination of public and private money to get back on their feet.

Learn more about the public benefits paid to the survivors of the Granite Mountain Hotshots killed fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in this report prepared for the Arizona House committee on Public Safety, Military, and Regulatory Affairs.