TALLAHASSEE, Fla - The Florida State Forester will lead the investigation into the deaths of 19 firefighters who died in Arizona this week.
Jim Karels was named as the lead investigator Wednesday charged with reviewing the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Violent wind gusts on Sunday turned what was believed to be a relatively manageable lightning-ignited forest fire into a death trap that left no escape for the team.
Karels was appointed Florida State Forester in 2008. He served four fire seasons with the U.S. Forest Service and is the committee chairman of the National Association of State Foresters Wildfire.
Mike Dudley, Acting Director of Cooperative Forestry of the U.S. Forest Service, will be the secondary team lead.