Wildfire in Arizona kills 19 firefighters, covers 2,000 acres, prompts evacuation of 50 homes

Meanwhile in other, equally tragic news, a team of 19 fire fighters lost the battle with the fire they were sent to put out. All I can think or say now is, what a terrible, terrible way to go.

My heart goes out to their families.

___________________________________________________________

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has notified residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell to evacuate. Roxie Glover, spokeswoman at Wickenburg Community Hospital, told The Associated Press that the hospital has been told to expect firefighters and residents with injuries.

BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS


	Tanker 910 makes a retardant drop Yarnell Hill Fire to help protect the Double Bar A Ranch near Peeples Valley, Ariz., Sunday, June 30, 2013. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. 

AP

On Sunday, Tanker 910 drops retardant on the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona to help protect the Double Bar A Ranch near Peeples Valley. The blaze started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell.

At least 19 firefighters — all members of the same elite crew — were killed Sunday battling a wind-whipped Arizona blaze that has torched 250 homes.

The 19 dead firefighters were members of the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots, a specialized team trained to combat extreme wildland blazes.

CITYOFPRESCOTT.NET

The 19 dead firefighters were members of the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots, a specialized team trained to combat extreme wildland blazes.

The calamity is believed to be the worst wildfire tragedy in history, surpassing the deaths of 14 smoke eaters in the Storm King fire near Glenwood, Colo., in 1994.

The firefighters were battling the blaze on Yarnell Hill, 35 miles southwest of Prescott, when they became trapped by a wall of flames 15 to 20 feet high, officials said.

Homes burn Sunday as the Yarnell Hill Fire approaches Glen Ilah, Ariz., near Yarnell.

AP

Homes burn Sunday as the Yarnell Hill Fire approaches Glen Ilah, Ariz., near Yarnell.

“Something drastic happened,” Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said Sunday night.

Firefighters move away from the Yarnell Hill Fire, near the town of Yarnell, Ariz., about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix. Nineteen firefighters were killed battling the fast-moving wildfire, the U.S. Wildland Fire Aviation service said on Sunday.

REUTERS

Firefighters move away from the Yarnell Hill Fire, near the town of Yarnell, Ariz., about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix. Nineteen firefighters were killed battling the fast-moving wildfire, the U.S. Wildland Fire Aviation service said on Sunday.

The 19 dead were members of his Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots, a specialized team trained to combat extreme wildland blazes.

“The entire hotshot crew has been killed by the fire,” Fraijo said.

A fire engine moves along Hays Ranch Road in Peeples, Ariz., as the Yarnell Hill Fire advances Sunday.

AP

A fire engine moves along Hays Ranch Road in Peeples, Ariz., as the Yarnell Hill Fire advances Sunday.

Art Morrison, spokesman for the Arizona State Forestry Department, said the doomed firefighters died near the frontline of fire, deploying their tent-like fire shelters in a desperate attempt to survive.

 

Houses burn as the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona spirals out of control.

AP

Houses burn as the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona spirals out of control.

The crew, formed in 2002, had recently returned from battling fires in New Mexico. A Facebook page was set up in memory of the perished Prescott firefighters.

“Absolutely devastating news,” former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords tweeted Sunday night.

The fire had burned up to 2,000 acres by Sunday night, prompting widespread evacuations and the closure of 25 miles of state Route 89, a major thoroughfare through central Arizona.

DAVID KADLUBOWSKI/AP

The fire had burned up to 2,000 acres by Sunday night, prompting widespread evacuations and the closure of 25 miles of state Route 89, a major thoroughfare through central Arizona.

The fire had burned up to 2,000 acres by Sunday night, prompting widespread evacuations and the closure of 25 miles of state Route 89, a major thoroughfare through central Arizona.

At least half of the 500 houses in the town of Yarnell had been destroyed, officials said.

Up to 22 firefighters were being treated for injuries at the nearby Wickenburg Community Hospital, officials said.

The blaze broke out amid triple-digit record heat throughout the West.

The National Weather Service’s thermometer recorded a peak temperature of 128 degrees in Death Valley National Park, which ties the record for the hottest June day anywhere in the country and not far from a global record.

The highest temperature recorded on Earth is 134 degrees, nearly a century ago in Death Valley.

 

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