An investigation into the June deaths of 19 firefighters killed while battling an Arizona blaze has found improperly programmed radios, vague updates, and a 30-minute communication blackout just before the flames engulfed the men. The report says at the moment the firefighters were killed, an air tanker carrying fire retardant was hovering overhead, waiting for an update about their location. The Arizona State Forestry Division presented the roughly 120-page report to the men's families ahead of a news conference in Prescott.
The report said the firefighters didn't anticipate danger when they left the relative safety of a ridge top and dropped down into a bowl surrounded by mountains on three sides, despite warnings of the erratically changing weather that whipped the blaze into an unpredictable inferno. (The Arizona Republic says the report fails to answer the "key question": Why did the firefighters leave that ridge top?) All but one member of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew died. (Read more Yarnell Hill Fire stories.)