Florida State Forester to lead investigation into AZ wildfire tragedy

Florida State Forester and NASF Forest Fire Protection Committee Chair Jim Karels has been named the lead investigator for the review of the tragic deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona this week. The Arizona State Forestry Division announced the members of the Yarnell Hill Investigation Team that will investigate the deaths of the Granite Mountain Hotshots killed Sunday in the Yarnell Hill Fire. The investigation begins immediately.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Arizona, especially to the families of the 19 men who tragically lost their lives while protecting the lives of others,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Jim Karels is a nationally recognized firefighter who will use his decades of experience to lead this team to better understand what happened and how to possibly prevent such a terrible loss in the future.”

Karels has more than 30 years of experience in land management and wildfire suppression, including four fire seasons with the U.S. Forest Service.