Three new hires signed the same temporary employment status papers and carry similar job descriptions to most of those members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots team.
Nineteen of the 20-member team died battling an Arizona wildfire near the town of Yarnell in late June.
The city of Prescott says the new hires are not the beginnings of a replacement hotshot crew. A city representative says the three positions are made every summer for forest thinning; a preventative measure to protect the city from wildfires. However, that was also a primary task for the city's Granite Mountain Hotshots crew.
Prescott is the only city in the country with a hotshot crew but since the deadly wildfire, those positions have not been replaced.
"What I'd like to do is have a magic wand and make all the ills of the past go away but that's not reality," Prescott council member Jim Lamerson said.
Fifty days after the fire, the city has 19 empty positions with their tasks being handled by three temp workers. Although the temporary employees won't go into a fire, they share many of the duties hotshot firefighters were tasked with.
Lamerson said he'd like to continue the legacy of the elite group of firefighters but the hang-up is on funding and the city's continuing battle with benefits and liability.
"If the federal government is not going to clean its woods up, if the state won't clean its woods up, if [Yavapai] County won't clean its woods up, by golly, we can take care of that," he said. "The issue is, who foots the bill?"
The already financially stressed city will likely face insurance hikes as a result of the lives lost at the Yarnell Hill Fire. On top of that, the upfront training costs for a new hot shot crew would be another great cost to taxpayers.
Lamerson said assistance from the federal or state governments would be a big step toward the re-establishment of a working hotshot crew in Prescott.
In Arizona, proposed legislation would cover death benefits for firefighters working on state lands. The author, state Rep. Andy Tobin, says the proposed legislation would be retroactive to cover the families of those Granite Mountain Hotshots, who died fighting a wildfire on state grounds.
Tuesday, March 11 2014 7:33 PM EDT2014-03-11 23:33:19 GMT
In Arizona, Rural Metro spokesman Colin Williams says conditions in some places on the outskirts of the Phoenix area resemble the brush-choked area where 19 firefighters perished last year in the Yarnell Hill Fire.More >>
In Arizona, Rural Metro spokesman Colin Williams said conditions in some places on the outskirts of the Phoenix area resemble the brush-choked area where 19 firefighters perished last year in the Yarnell Hill Fire.More >>
Wednesday, March 5 2014 6:34 PM EST2014-03-05 23:34:38 GMT
The Arizona House of Representatives has passed a bill setting aside $500,000 to create a memorial site honoring the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire last year. House BillMore >>
The Arizona House of Representatives has passed a bill setting aside $500,000 to create a memorial site honoring the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire last year.More >>
Thursday, February 27 2014 9:20 AM EST2014-02-27 14:20:37 GMT
A former Yarnell volunteer firefighter said it was possible to put out the deadliest wildfire in more than three decades, when it was still just a wisp of smoke. Meantime, CBS 5 Investigates found stateMore >>
A former Yarnell volunteer firefighter said it was possible to put out the deadliest wildfire in more than three decades, when it was still just a wisp of smoke.More >>