- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - A former hotshot supervisor in Payson has sued the federal government over the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, saying records are being concealed.

Fred Schoeffler is seeking aircraft radio transmissions that may help explain the deaths of 19 elite firefighters in the fire.

In his lawsuit, Schoeffler says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has denied a public-records request for recordings and transcripts of Forest Service radio traffic among employees who were conducting an aerial firefighting study during the fatal blaze.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting team had been in a relatively safe position on a ridge top.

For an unknown reason and without notifying anyone, they moved down the mountainside through an unburned area where they were trapped by a wall of flames when winds shifted the fire in their direction.

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