Monday, July 1, 2013

Nineteen Firefighters Lost

This is awful news.

A fast-moving wildfire in central Arizona killed 19 firefighters on Sunday, authorities said.

Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman Mike Reichling said the firefighters were fighting the blaze near the town of Yarnell, Ariz., about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

The fire, which investigators believe was started by lightning, has destroyed more than 200 homes.

The victims were from the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an experienced group of firefighters from Prescott, Arizona, who had battled blazes in New Mexico and Arizona in recent weeks.

“If you ever met them, you would meet the finest, most dedicated people,” Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said. “These are the guys that will go out there with 40, 50 pounds of equipment. They’ll sleep out there as they try to develop fire lines and put protection between homes and natural resources and still try to remain safe.”

Fraijo said that his organization and the city of Prescott were “in grief.” “We are devastated,” he said.

He said one member of the team who was at a different location had survived.

Unimaginable is right.  Hold them and their families close in your thoughts.