New Prescott hires have similar descriptions but not 'hotshots' - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

New Prescott hires have similar descriptions but not 'hotshots'

Posted: Updated:
(CBS 5) (CBS 5)
  • More newsMore>>

  • Marijuana operation busted in Marengo Co.

    Marijuana operation busted in Marengo Co.

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:12 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:12:49 GMT
    (Source: Alabama ABC Board)(Source: Alabama ABC Board)
    Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board found and destroyed several marijuana plants on Wednesday. Agents discovered the plants while exploring a wooded area in the southeastern corner ofMore >>
    Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board found and destroyed several marijuana plants on Wednesday. Agents discovered the plants while exploring a wooded area in the southeastern corner of Marengo County. A subsequent search of a nearby residence turned up additional cannabis.More >>
  • GM issues 6 more safety recalls

    GM issues 6 more safety recalls

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:54 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:54:11 GMT
    General Motors is issuing six more recalls covering a total of almost 718,000 vehicles in the U.S.More >>
    General Motors issued six more recalls on Wednesday, bringing its annual total to 60 recalls covering almost 30 million vehicles.More >>
  • US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:43 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:43:23 GMT
    Dozens of Palestinian families trapped by clashes between Hamas militants and Israeli troops are scrambling to flee a southern Gaza Strip neighborhood as Israel reported that two more of its soldiers have died in...More >>
    Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to end fighting that has so far killed more than 680 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.More >>
PRESCOTT, AZ (CBS5) -

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.

For more on this story, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow