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A Final Look Back

01 July 2014  
A look at the the summer of 2013 through photos.

Monday marked the 365th day since the deaths of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots. One year. But the events didn't start on June 30. And the story didn't end on June 30.

As a reporter, I record things - usually with a camera. I'm a visual person, and I like to see things. But, how does one 'see' grief or joy? Looking back at last year's photos, I was struck at how life went through it's normal paces. Yet, it had this themes running through it. Themes of deep tragedy, of fire, of fear. Yet, there was also a theme of normalcy injecting itself in at odd places.

One day, I'm following hot air balloons in Prescott Valley, and then I'm anxiously watching the Doce Fire burn behind Granite Mountain from my back yard. When the Doce was brought under control, a sense of triumph and awe and relief permeated our community. It could have been so bad, we said. We would soon see what could have been in Doce when the Yarnell Hill Fire blazed out of control, and homes were lost and people displaced. And, unspeakably, unfathomably, unbearably, nineteen firefighting men, celebrated just a few days earlier, were also dead.

Much is a blur after that. The inundation of media from all over the world. Some of the media was compassionate, some was insufferably rude and thoughtlessly inconsiderate. I wanted to protect our community. These were our people after all. They had places in our hearts - how dare the media come in and sensationalize a story that was far too inherently sensational already? Always, there were unexpected reminders of the heartaches - like seeing a flag-draped coffin on a fire truck while at a stoplight.

Yet, life didn't stop. The horses still bucked at the Rodeo. Flowers still bloomed on the bush. Firefighters still battled blazes across the state. Concert lights still streaked across stages. Politicians still debated in forums. But underneath it all, the overwhelming sense of tragedy continued to run deep and heavy.

Here is my record of photos, from that time of devastation and loss. Most of the photos are ones I took. A couple were contributed by people like Matt Santos and Charlie Arnold. They're in chronological order. Many have never been published before.

Most of the time when I share a photo gallery, I say, "Enjoy." This time, I say, "Remember..."

Photo Gallery

Click on a thumbnail to see a larger photo.

{gallery}2013summer{/gallery}

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Lynne LaMaster