On the lower left side of this group of panels is a large painting of a handful of the 19 hotshots overlooking the mountain and smoke. This painting was created from an actual photo and is used to show the men at work without seeing their faces. By depicting their backsides only, the artist chooses not to highlight any one of them more than the other in the mural to ensure that each hotshot receives equal amount of reverence.
In this assembly of panels, you will also see a reference to the Arizona state flag but with a flame in the middle instead of a star. This section of the mural was inspired by a small poster at the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning and Tribute Center that signifies fire prevention. Although these hotshots lost their lives tragically because of a fire started by lightning, it is very important to the families that fire prevention continues to be stressed as we honor the hotshots’ legacy. To practice fire prevention, it is important to create clearings where all flammable materials have been removed and keep sparks away from all dry vegetation. Thick brush and crowded trees can lead to uncontrollable wildfires. According to the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, an estimated 74% of our state’s forests are overgrown and in need of management. Without action, uncontrollable wildfires put residents at risk and firefighters’ lives on the line.
The final section in this group of panels is the painting of the fence of gifts. This fence of gifts around the fire station was estimated to be 50-60 yards long, 7-8 feet high, and maybe as long as a football field when arranged together. The items shown here are representations of the thousands of items left at the fence, including flowers, almost 1200 T-shirts, posters, and artwork that families and students created. The fence of gifts shows only a sliver of how people all over the world, other hotshots and firefighters, and the community of Prescott and Yarnell came together to grieve and honor these brave men. It is noted that the community worked tirelessly to preserve the more than 9,000 emotionally laden items so that others could realize the impact the tragedy had on the community and beyond.