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Local officials said they were not surprised by the rankings, noting that Arizona’s climate, relatively low taxes and crime rates, and quality of life are all attractive to retirees.

Arizona grabbed three of the top four spots in a new national ranking of the best cities for retirees, based on a town’s crime, weather, taxes and other factors. Mesa, Prescott and Tucson were ranked in first, third and fourth places. Read more»

Dr. Yamini Goswami, public health medical director of Yavapai County Community Health Services, said families with higher incomes and children in charter or private schools have higher personal-beliefs exemption rates than any other demographic group in Yavapai County.

The rising number of parents opting out of vaccinating their children is a concern around the state, but particularly in Yavapai County, which has Arizona's second-lowest rate of measles, mumps and rubella vaccination among kindergartners. Read more» 1

Richard Findley, a homeless veteran, reads the news on his laptop at the Veterans Resource Center in Prescott.

Recognizing that homelessness among veterans is a problem in rural areas as well as cities, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently awarded a $2 million grant to the Veterans Resource Center, which has offices in Prescott, Flagstaff and Bullhead City. Read more»

American Red Cross volunteer Marty Martindale comforts Yarnell resident Gene Criner in the aftermath of last year’s blaze, that killed firefighters and caused extensive damage. Volunteers and donations played a large role in helping the town rebuild and heal.

Not all the houses have been rebuilt. Not all the people have moved back home and not all the damage has been repaired. But one year after the town of Yarnell was hit by what would become the deadliest wildfire in Arizona history, residents say the town is steadily pulling itself back together. Read more»

Investigators on July 3 inspect the location where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were entrapped by flames four days earlier.

The families of 12 of the Granite Mountain Hotshots killed June 30 in the Yarnell Hill Fire have filed notice of claims with the city of Prescott, Central Yavapai County Fire District, the Arizona Forestry Division, Yavapai County and four fire commanders seeking $237.5 million in damages. Read more»

"There's usually a chain of events — things that happened that shouldn't have happened" — that contribute to fatal wildfire incidents, said a retired wildfire investigator. Another firefighter, the former chief in Yarnell, called a recent state report on the death of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots a "big cover-up." Read more»

When someone seeks prescription painkillers from physicians and pharmacies in Yavapai County, a database shows when that person last received the drugs. The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is a pilot for an initiative Arizona officials intend to take statewide to combat prescription drug abuse. Read more»

Two months after his 26-year-old son was killed fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire, Dave Turbyfill is left with more questions than answers, and is suspicious that private contractors dominating the wildfire business don’t want to knock down fires too fast and, therefore, miss out on big paydays. Read more»

A pyrocumulonimbus cloud erupts over Yarnell at the exact moment when the Granite Mountain Hotshots were deploying their fire shelters.

Increasing evidence reveals that reasons far from supernatural contributed to the tragic deaths of 19 of the 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Dispatch logs show the wildland firefighting crew should not have been deployed to fight the Yarnell Hill Fire. Read more» 2

Backing away from earlier claims of a fabricated story, officials said the Deputy State Forester has confirmed that he made the comments attributed to him by InvestigativeMEDIA in a July 30 article in which Payne was quoted as saying the leader of the Granite Mountain Hotshots made mistakes in the moments leading up to his death and the deaths of 18 members of his crew. Read more»

Officials with the state Forestry Division disputed a news report Tuesday that quoted the agency's deputy director as saying the leader of the Granite Mountain Hotshots violated wildfire safety protocols when he and 18 of his firefighters were killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire. "State Forestry apologizes for (the) inappropriate expression of opinion as fact." Read more»

A Granite Mountain Hotshot t-shirt is draped over a cactus. The shelter deployment site is behind. The crew descended into the box canyon from the saddle on the ridge.

Eric Marsh, superintendent of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, violated safety protocols when he and 18 of his firefighters were killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, a state Forestry official said. It appears that Marsh violated several basic wildfire rules including not knowing the location of the fire, not having a spotter observing it, and leading his crew through thick, unburned vegetation near a wildfire. Read more» 4

A Granite Mountain Hotshot t-shirt is draped over a cactus. The shelter deployment site is behind. The crew descended into the box canyon from the saddle on the ridge.

Video: Prescott Wildland Division Chief Darrell Willis on Tuesday described what he believes happened on June 30 when the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew made a last-ditch stand in a box canyon against a wind tunnel of fire. Read more»

The Yarnell Hill Fire, burning a day after 19 firefighters were killed by the blaze.

Honoring the members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots killed last week battling the Yarnell Hill Fire, Sen. John McCain introduced a resolution honoring the firefighters in the Senate on Wednesday. Read more»

Interviews with Prof. Stephen Zunes, developer Richard Studwell, Northern Arizona reporter Jeff Demand, and Tucsoncitizen.com's Mark B. Evans. Read more»

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