Exactly two months after the Yarnell Hill Fire devastated the town, Yarnell began its 3-day celebration of the official reopening of it’s commercial district. It’s a significant step in the long processes of rebuilding after the deadly fire, which also claimed the lives of 19 firefighters from the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots wildland firefighting crew. For the people of Yarnell, Labor Day will forever hold significant meaning.
For two months the commercial district of Yarnell was closed for normal operations. Many of the tiny town’s businesses had suspended normal functions in order to make their facilities available for more immediate needs. A volunteer center was needed to coordinate the massive number of people coming in to help clear land and clean up debris from the fire. A resource depot was set up to provide for the immediate needs of the displaced citizens. Parking lots became staging areas for the many tasks that had to be done. The community center became the home of the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group, and organization created to provide a voice and leadership in the rebuild.
Labor Day weekend all of this changed. The resource depot officially closed, sending it’s inventory to the United Way Warehouse in Prescott. Businesses reopened, and the celebration hit the streets. After two months of mourning, and fighting to survive, the town of Yarnell is choosing to celebrate. Life goes on. The town is moving forward. It is a declaration:
Yarnell is rising from the ashes.
A lot of work remains in the rebuild. The first house hasn’t begun construction yet. With the approaching change of season and the coming winter, the building probably won’t begin in earnest until early spring. It will be a tenuous winter, with many citizens still living in RVs or, in some cases, tents. But they are determined to get through it, and to rebuild better than it was before.
The Town of Yarnell formally invites everyone, from all walks of life, and all places, to come and celebrate with them.