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Arizona sued by property owners over management of fatal Yarnell wildfire

• theguardian.com

Dozens of property owners in central Arizona are suing the state, saying it failed miserably in its management of a wildfire that killed 19 elite firefighters.

The lawsuit filed in Maricopa County superior court seeks unspecified damages for emotional distress, property loss and loss of income. The more than 160 plaintiffs also are seeking protections for firefighters, such as the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who were overrun by flames while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire on 30 June 2013.

The lawsuit comes a week before the one-year anniversary of their deaths. The lightning-sparked wildfire destroyed 127 homes in and around Yarnell and scorched 13 sq miles before it was fully contained on 10 July.

Craig Knapp, the attorney representing property owners in Yarnell, said the lawsuit seeks to get the state to "implement changes to keep communities safe when there's a fire and move quickly and competently when they have notice a wildfire has started".

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