Yarnell Community Returns — Some To Home, Some To Ashes

July 08, 2013
Laurel Morales
American flags placed at the memorial outside the Prescott Fire Department Station.

The hundreds of people who were forced to evacuate Yarnell are being allowed back home Monday. Many are returning to ashes.

Cars were lined up at a roadblock outside town before the evacuation order was lifted. Yarnell has radically changed since the community was forced to leave over a week ago. More than a hundred homes have been destroyed.

Those who were more fortunate must still deal with basic needs. About 480 people lost electricity due to the fire. The community has been asked to boil its water until the system is deemed safe.

Damon Gross is a spokesman for Arizona Public Service, the utility that provides electricity to Yarnell.

"It’s a very sobering environment. You’ll see a couple places where homes are literally burned to the ground and then you’ll look 10 feet away and you might see a home that doesn’t appear to have any harm at all," Gross said.

APS has restored service to most of the people with power. They don't know how many homeowners will rebuild.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday in Prescott Valley for the 19 firefighters who died on the front line of the fire on June 30.

Twenty different hotshot units from around the country will be at the service, along with Vice President Joe Biden and Arizona Senator John McCain. Secretary of Homeland Security and former Arizona governor Janet Napolitano plans to be in attendance.

Tickets to the private memorial have been provided to the victims’ families. The public will be allowed to watch on jumbotron screens outside Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.