It Could Not Be Seen Because It Could Not Be Believed on June 30, 2013

In Ronald L. Boring (ed.), Advances in Human Error, Reliability, Resilience, and Performance. Springer. pp. 231–243 (2018)
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Nineteen Prescott Fire Department, Granite Mountain Hot Shot (GMHS) wildland firefighters (WF) perished in Arizona in June 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, an inexplicable wildland fire disaster. In complex wildland fires, sudden, dynamic changes in human factors and fire conditions can occur, thus mistakes can be unfortunately fatal. Individual and organizational faults regarding the predictable, puzzling, human failures that will result in future WF deaths are addressed. The GMHS were individually, then collectively fixated with abandoning their Safety Zone to reengage, committing themselves at the worst possible time, to relocate to another Safety Zone - a form of collective tunnel vision. Our goal is to provoke meaningful discussion toward improved wildland firefighter safety with practical solutions derived from a long-established wildland firefighter expertise/performance in a fatality-prone profession. Wildfire fatalities are unavoidable, hence these proposals, applied to ongoing training, can significantly contribute to other well-thought-out and validated measures to reduce them.
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Archival date: 2018-07-21
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