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Local Officials Headed to Arizona for Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Service

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

A host of local firefighters and law enforcement officials from Santa Barbara County are traveling to Prescott, Ariz., to remember the firefighters killed while battling wildfire in Arizona last month.

A public memorial service is planned for the 19 firefighters of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew, who were killed in the line of duty on June 30 while battling the fast-moving Yarnell Hill Wildfire.

About 30,000 people are expected to attend the public memorial on Tuesday morning, which will be held in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

One of the firefighters killed was 26-year-old Sean Misner of Santa Ynez, in whose honor a local memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. July 15 at Santa Ynez High School.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley is attending Tuesday’s memorial in her capacity as chair of the county’s arson task force and said the trip was “an effort to reach out to another community that was also plagued by fire.”

“I am sure the sadness we will all experience will be nearly overwhelming,” she said, adding that she will be thinking of her son, Sam, who is a wildland firefighter, as well as the remarkable men and women with whom he serves. “All of us want everyone in Prescott to know they are not alone and their loved ones will never be forgotten.”

Four off-duty firefighters and one retiree of the Montecito Fire Protection District will also be joining hundreds of other agencies and firefighters attending the service.

In addition, one of the district’s off-duty dispatchers has responded with several other dispatchers from across the state to provide assistance in the Prescott and Yarnell communications centers so that their dispatchers may attend the services.

The loss of life was particularly acute for the department, as Misner was the nephew of Montecito Fire Division Chief Terry McElwee, and grandson of the late Montecito Fire Chief Herb McElwee.

Seven members of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department will be attending, as well as Santa Barbara Fire Department Chief Pat McElroy.

Staff Sgt. Erica Picarello of Vandenberg Air Force Base said the base’s hot shot team will be sending two of its members to the events. Jessie Hendricks, hot shot superintendent, and Lani Coleman, a hot shot squad boss, will be representing the base.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

comments powered by Disqus

» on 07.09.13 @ 08:38 AM

the loss of so many dedicated young men is a tragedy, and i don’t want to understate that in any way.

but the rest of this article looks like a boondoggle trip to Arizona for Santa Barbara officials.

If any of these people are actually paying their own way to Prescott, then it’s really a private matter.  But the District Attorney?  Give me a break.  I understand the family of Sean Misner may want to attend and to mourn, but that’s not a public policy reason to attend.

» on 07.09.13 @ 09:25 AM

I agree 100% with Mark - it is a junket at taxpayers expense -unless the “officials” pay for it out of their own pockets.
They all draw very generous salaries and they can well afford it.
It would be interesting to learn who will attend from our county. Will they be chartering a bus, fly or use their cars to reap the mileage reimbursement?
A concerned taxpayer…....

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