How one couple survived the deadly Yarnell Hill Fire

It has been 10 years since 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots died in the Yarnell Hill Fire.

The hotshots were headed toward a ranch on the edge of town when fire overran them on the afternoon of June 30, 2013. The owners of that ranch, Diane “D.J.” and Lee Helm, spoke exclusively to ABC15 recently about that tragic day.

The hotshots died only a third of a mile from the ranch. D.J. believes if they had a little more time, they could have made it to the couple’s metal barn, where their animals survived the fire.

“I’d say if they had 15 minutes, they probably would have made it here,” she said.

Earlier that day, D.J. and Lee watched as a wildfire burned west of Yarnell. But they weren’t especially worried. The fire was on the other side of a mountain ridge. The wind pushed the fire north, away from town. Even so, there was still a threat to Yarnell, an unincorporated community of about 650 residents southwest of Prescott. Fire officials had asked permission to use…


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