Check out this 5-minute audio report about the Yarnell Hill fire that claimed 19 firefighters' lives - interview with Kyle Dickman, a former hotshot who wrote the book "On the Burning Edge." "He tells NPR's Eric Westervelt about the wall of flames that the Granite Mountain Hotshots faced, and how the incident has - and hasn't - changed firefighting technology and practices.
"On one firefighter whose story sticks with him
One boy's name was Grant McKee; he was the youngest guy on the crew. And Grant McKee was really hesitant. He didn't necessarily want to join the crew, and he didn't want to be a hotshot, he wanted to be a paramedic. And so he had a really hard time sort of fitting into the rough-and-tumble culture of the hotshot crew. And I think what touched me about Grant's story was watching him come into it, so reluctant to join the crew, and then go from being an outcast to being an accepted member and actually sort of falling in love with the job.
On whether the tragedy was caused by bad luck or "unforgivable human error," and the changes he'd like to see
What I would like to see is a larger percentage of that money going toward preparing for wildfires. So instead of spending billions fighting them, we should be spending ... billions preparing for them — by thinning the forest, by using more prescribed fire, by letting more wildfires burn."