19 Arizona “Hot Shot” Firefighters Perish Fighting The Yarnell Hill Wildfire.


By Jueseppi B.

 

This undated picture shows the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshot crew of Prescott, Ariz. (Photo: KPHO-TV/CBS-5-AZ.com via AFP/Getty Images

This undated picture shows the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshot crew of Prescott, Ariz.
(Photo: KPHO-TV/CBS-5-AZ.com via AFP/Getty Images

 

 

Loss of 19 firefighters in Arizona blaze ‘unbearable,’ governor says

 

 

(CNN) — They were part of an elite squad confronting wildfires on the front line, setting up barriers to stop the spreading destruction. But in their unpredictable world, it doesn’t take much to turn a situation deadly.

 

In this case, a wind shift and other factors caused a central Arizona fire, which now spans 8,400 acres, to become erratic, said Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman.

 

Though the deaths are under investigation, the inferno appears to have proved too much, even for the shelters the 19 firefighters carried as a last-ditch survival tool.

 

“The fuels were very dry, the relative humidity was low, the wind was coming out of the south. It turned around on us because of monsoon action,” Reichling told CNN affiliate KNXV. “That’s what caused the deaths.

 

The 19 firefighters — members of the Prescott Fire Department’s Granite Mountain Hotshots– were killed Sunday while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire, northwest of Phoenix. Among the dead was Eric Marsh, the unit’s 43-year-old superintendent.

 

Honoring the fallen

Also killed, according to the city of Prescott: Andrew Ashcraft, 29; Robert Caldwell, 23; Travis Carter, 31; Dustin Deford, 24; Christopher MacKenzie, 30; Grant McKee, 21; Sean Misner, 26; Scott Norris, 28; Wade Parker, 22; John Percin, 24; Anthony Rose, 23; Jesse Steed, 36; Joe Thurston, 32; Travis Turbyfill, 27; William Warneke, 25; Clayton Whitted, 28; Kevin Woyjeck, 21; and Garret Zuppiger, 27.

 

The deaths of the 19 — representing about 20 percent of Prescott’s fire department — devastated the city. Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo, who sent the unit at the request of regional authorities, said he was told that one of the firefighters had radioed they were about to deploy their fire shelters, a sort of aluminum blanket that protects against the flames and heat — and a measure of last resort.

 

 

Thank you Holly Yan, Eliott C. McLaughlin and Jason Hanna, CNN.

 

 

The Yarnell Hill Fire about 35 miles southwest of Prescott, Ariz., continued to burn out of control Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Yarnell Hill Fire about 35 miles southwest of Prescott, Ariz., continued to burn out of control Tuesday, July 2, 2013

 

 

19 firefighters killed in Arizona fire, now at 8,400 acres

 

William M. Welch and Gary Strauss, USA TODAY and The Arizona Republic staff

 

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — As firefighters tried to gain control over a stubborn, swelling wildfire near here Monday, this close-knit mountain town was trying to contain its grief.

 

Many flocked to Prescott Fire Station No. 7, the small, one-story base of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, the elite firefighting crew that lost 19 of 20 men as they were overcome Sunday by the swift, erratic Yarnell Hill Fire 30 miles to the south.

 

Juliann Ashcraft said she learned that her husband, Andrew, 29, was among the dead by watching the news with her four children. “They died heroes,” she said, wiping away tears. “And we’ll miss them. We love them.”

 

Most were in their 20s, but ranged in age from 21 to 43. Outside a gated, locked fence where more than a dozen vehicles left behind by the lost firefighters remain parked, a stream of tearful mourners honored the loss of neighbors, relatives and friends with flowers, signs, balloons, flags, caps, letters, religious figures and other mementos.

 

Prescott resident Keith Gustafson placed 19 water bottles in the shape of a heart. “When I heard about this, it just hit me hard,” he said. “It hit me like a ton of bricks.”

 

The blaze — the worst wildfire tragedy since 1933 and the biggest loss of firefighters since 9/11 took 343 New York Fire Department personnel — was ignited Friday by lightning. The 2,000 acres burning Sunday quadrupled by Monday, with 8,400 acres engulfed in towering flames and unthinkable heat. Some 200 homes and businesses have been devoured in the towns of Glen Isla and Yarnell, 30 miles south of Prescott and about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

 

Erratic winds and dry grasses have been feeding the inferno as more than 400 firefighters were trying to flank it from three sides in triple-digit heat. Air tankers and helicopters were also saturating the area to keep it from spreading.

 

“This is a nightmare scenario for firefighting: thunderstorms producing little rainfall, unpredictable, shifting winds, and, of course, lightning strikes,” Weather Channel meteorologist Jon Erdman said.

 

Amie Nichols and fiancé Dustin Oliver came to honor Oliver’s cousin and close friend, nicknamed Tiny. “He was always a good guy — always funny,” said Oliver, who declined to name his cousin. “We grew up together. I haven’t slept since I heard about it yesterday.”

 

STORY: Obama, McCain mourn Arizona firefighters

 

EXTREME BLAZE: Arizona’s Dude Fire an example

 

STORY: How you can help

 

Kathy Stapp, 46, and Carianne Sarver, 25, came to pray and reflect. “It’s a small community,” Sarver said. “It affects everyone. It’s just awful. I don’t think there are words. It’s just heartbreaking.”

 

Sarver and her family moved to Prescott — a city of 40,000 — last year from Virginia. But in that short time, they had come to know some of the firefighters. “It’s just searing to lose all those men,” she said. “It’s such a big loss.”

 

“The entire fire department, the entire area, the entire state is being devastated by the magnitude of this incident,” Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said.

 

Many of those killed were Prescott High graduates, including Clayton Whitted, who would work out as a firefighter on the same campus where he played football for the Prescott Badgers from 2000 to 2004. Football coach Lou Beneitone said Whitted, 28, “worked his fanny off.”

 

“He wasn’t a big kid, and many times in the game, he was overpowered by big men, and he still got after it.” He and Whitted talked a few months ago about how this year’s fire season could be a “rough one.”

 

“I shook his hand, gave him a hug, and said, ‘Be safe out there,'” Beneitone recalled. “He said, ‘I will, Coach.'”

 

Prescott Fire Capt Jeff Knotek, who retired Sunday after 28 years as a firefighter, said 20% of his 100-member department had been lost.

 

“It’s hard — in a matter of minutes they are all gone,” Knotek said. “They are a really good group of guys, and really, really good at what they do. It’s a perfect example of how quickly that stuff can happen.”

 

Knotek, 52, said he took his son with him to work his last shift as a firefighter Sunday, finishing the overnight shift at 8 a.m. He was not assigned to the Yarnell Hill Fire. “It’s not something I want to remember for my last day,” he said.

 

 

A fire expert shows how crews use "fire shelters" to protect themselves when caught inside a wildfire. Nineteen firefighters were killed near Yarnell, Ariz., in a fast-moving blaze. Officials believe they did deploy their shelters

A fire expert shows how crews use “fire shelters” to protect themselves when caught inside a wildfire. Nineteen firefighters were killed near Yarnell, Ariz., in a fast-moving blaze. Officials believe they did deploy their shelters

 

 

‘HEARTBROKEN’

 

The heartbreaking losses unnerved Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer as she spoke haltingly at Prescott High School on Monday morning.

 

“I know that it is unbearable for many of you, but it also is unbearable for me. I know the pain that everyone is trying to overcome and deal with today,” said Brewer, who ordered state flags at half-staff. She also declared a state of emergency in Yavapai County. That will make $200,000 of state money available to support emergency response and recovery efforts as well as authorize deployment of the state National Guard.

 

As Brewer spoke, a caravan of white vans carried the victims’ bodies to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office, where they will be autopsied. The vans passed under arched ladders of fire trucks and a nearby American flag.

 

President Obama hailed the fallen as heroes. In a statement released as he prepared to travel to Tanzania from South Africa, Obama sent “thoughts and prayers to the families of these brave firefighters. We are heartbroken about what happened.”

 

Grief also poured out on the Granite Mountain Hotshots Facebook page, where a steady stream of comments praised the fallen.

 

“The flags at all of our fire stations are at half staff,” wrote Sandra Lynn Alves from California. “May God be with you and may you guys get some help from heaven to get this fire out.”

 

Ontario, Canada, resident and retired firefighter Ron Sinclair wrote: “My prayers and sympathy go out to the families, friends and brother fire fighters. May god give you strength and comfort in this time of sorrow.”

 

Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman Mike Reichling said 19 emergency fire shelters had been deployed. Some of the victims were discovered inside the shelters — tent-like, foil-covered structures meant to shield flames and heat. “They were caught up in a very bad situation,” he said.

 

William M. Welch and Gary Strauss, USA TODAY and The Arizona Republic staff

 

 

ABC World News Now : Bodies of 19 Firefighters Killed in Arizona Wildfire Recovered

 

Published on Jul 2, 2013

The Yarnell fire killed 19 of 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew.

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Guffey looks at 19 American flags placed outside an auditoriumat Embry-Riddle University on July 1 in Prescott, Ariz., before the start of a memorial service for 19 firefighters killed while battling a wildfire. The members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew died on June 30 when a fast-moving wildfire overran their position near Yarnell, Ariz.  Christian Petersen, Getty Images

Brian Guffey looks at 19 American flags placed outside an auditoriumat Embry-Riddle University on July 1 in Prescott, Ariz., before the start of a memorial service for 19 firefighters killed while battling a wildfire. The members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew died on June 30 when a fast-moving wildfire overran their position near Yarnell, Ariz. Christian Petersen, Getty Images

 

A photo of Wade Parker, one of the firefighters who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire, adorns a memorial at Prescott Fire Station 7, where the 19 firefighters who died June 30 were based in Prescott, Ariz.  Patrick Breen, The Arizona Republic

A photo of Wade Parker, one of the firefighters who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire, adorns a memorial at Prescott Fire Station 7, where the 19 firefighters who died June 30 were based in Prescott, Ariz. Patrick Breen, The Arizona Republic

Becca Bowers adds 19 roses to a memorial at Prescott Fire Station 7.  Patrick Breen, The Arizona Republic

Becca Bowers adds 19 roses to a memorial at Prescott Fire Station 7. Patrick Breen, The Arizona Republic

 

Marsha McKee and Stanley Nesheim grieve during a memorial service for 19 firefighters of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew. McKee is the mother of one of the firefighters who was killed June 30.  Julie Jacobson, AP

Marsha McKee and Stanley Nesheim grieve during a memorial service for 19 firefighters of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew. McKee is the mother of one of the firefighters who was killed June 30. Julie Jacobson, AP

 

 

19 Firefighters Killed In Arizona Fire

 

Published on Jul 1, 2013

I just learned that 19 Hotshot firefighters were killed in the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. Being an ex wildland firefighter myself I would like to share my experience in working the dangerous Colorado fires of 2001-2002.

 

 

 

 

The Yarnell Hill, Arizona Wildfire

Homes go up on flames in the area of Glenn Ilah near Yarnell, Ariz., on June 30.  David Kadlubowski, Arizona Republic

Homes go up on flames in the area of Glenn Ilah near Yarnell, Ariz., on June 30. David Kadlubowski, Arizona Republic

 

Firefighters spray water on a restaurant to protect it from flames in the Glenn Ilah area on June 30.  David Kadlubowski, The Arizona Republic

Firefighters spray water on a restaurant to protect it from flames in the Glenn Ilah area on June 30. David Kadlubowski, The Arizona Republic

 

1372649829000-a01-final-fires-01-1306302335_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372649829001-AP-Western-Wildfires-1-1306302356_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372649829002-AP-Western-Wildfires-1306302339_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372649829003-XXX-phxdc5-6ar5r3bixzp1183q-1306302340_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372649829004-XXX-phxdc5-6ar5r3hpm4z7q5ei-1306302341_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372649829005-XXX-phxdc5-6ar5r3mv7ndn8mwc-1306302342_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372649829006-XXX-phxdc5-6ar5r43rtb8dfvz7-1307010001_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372649829007-XXX-phxdc5-6ar5tft725f9m9mr-1306302349_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372649829010-XXX-phxdc5-6ar5tgbkxq1j22o0-1306302353_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372663591000-AP-Arizona-Wildfires-1307010327_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

 

 

 

Heroes.

1372728298007-fire-gallery-8-1307012125_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372698799004-azfire070113-002-1307011336_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372728298003-fire-gallery-4-1307012127_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372728298002-fire-gallery-3-1307012127_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372728298006-fire-gallery-7-1307012128_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372769758007-azfire070213-003-1307020859_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372769759008-azfire070213-002-1307020859_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372728298001-fire-gallery-2-1307012127_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372698799001-azfire070113-005-1307011334_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

1372698799000-azfire070113-006-1307011334_4_3_rx513_c680x510

 

 

 

 

AZ Firefighters Lacked Escape Route

Arizona officials on Tuesday launched an investigation into the deadly wildfire that killed almost an entire crew of firefighters—while the fire remains completely uncontained. The 19 firefighters’ bodies were found by their safety shelters, leading investigators to believe they died while trapped in them. A forestry official said Monday that the firefighters lacked a proper escape route when the winds shifted course and flames overtook them. The identities of members of the crew, the Granite Mountain Hotshots, were released on Monday. The fire killed about a third of Prescott’s sworn firefighters. Meanwhile, the deadly Yarnell wildfire has already burned through 8,500 acres and continues unabated.

 

Firefighters embrace each other at the end of a memorial service July 1, 2013, for the 19 firefighters killed battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona.(Photo: David Wallace, The Arizona Republic)

Firefighters embrace each other at the end of a memorial service July 1, 2013, for the 19 firefighters killed battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona.(Photo: David Wallace, The Arizona Republic)

 

 

Arizona officials seek answers after 19 firefighters die

 

Craig Harris, Sean Holstege and Bob Ortega, The Arizona Republic

 

PRESCOTT, Ariz. —As the Yarnell Hill Fire continues to rage uncontrolled, Arizona officials launched an investigation Tuesday to find out how the fast, erratic wildfire killed 19 hotshot firefighters and whether the tragedy could have been averted.

 

Fire conditions Sunday were among the most dangerous some experts had ever seen. Low humidity, high temperatures and extremely dry and dense fuel created a worst-case scenario for the crew, which was trapped between two ridges when winds suddenly reversed.

 

 

STORY: Fallen firefighters were in prime of lives

 
STORY: How you can help firefighters’ families

 

 

Some of the men had covered themselves with foil-lined, heat-resistant tarps known as fire shelters, but they were unable to survive the blaze. The fire dispatch center was notified at about 4:50 p.m. Sunday that the shelters were deployed, said Carrie Dennett, an Arizona State Forestry Division fire-prevention officer.

 

The grim scene is the starting point for the state’s investigation. It comes as the Forestry Division turned over command of firefighting activities late Monday to a federal fire-management team with broader access to resources and equipment. While the federal government will oversee firefighting, the state will maintain control over the investigation.

 

By Tuesday afternoon, the Yarnell Hill Fire had grown to 13 square miles and was completely uncontained. As many as 500 firefighters are battling the blaze.

 

The members of the crew, the only hotshot team in the nation from a city fire department, were killed Sunday protecting homes as they battled the Yarnell Hill Fire, about 35 miles southwest of here. It is the worst firefighting tragedy ever in Arizona, and one of the nation’s deadliest.

 

Dennett declined to say when the firefighters died. She said the state agency’s investigative team should begin taking shape Tuesday as other fire investigators start their work.

 

“It will be designed so we can learn from this and teach up-and-coming firefighters if there are any lessons that can be learned,” Dennett said. “A lot of firefighters died. We have to do this right and get the right team here. It will take some time.”

 

The investigative team will consist of up to 10 people recruited from around the country from local, state and federal agencies, she said.

 

The group will include a team leader, a fire-behavioral analyst who can describe how a fire accelerates, a fire-operations specialist, a safety specialist and a person to document the information, said Judith Downing of the U.S. Forest Service. A report will be published when the work is finished.

 

Downing, who arrived Monday in Arizona with a seven-member National Incident Management Organization team to assist in the operation, said the investigation will be independent.

 

“Our role is not to do the investigation,” Downing said. “Our role is to provide support to the state.”

 

Investigators will want to understand the weather, how the fire behaved, the location of the fire crews and what the vegetation was like. They are expected to sift through troves of records: dispatch logs, standing plans, incident-management decisions, radio logs, historical weather readings, forest clearance schedules — anything to help them understand why so many died and how to prevent it from happening again.

 

“Hotshot crews always assess the risks before going in. I know, knowing Granite Mountain, they did that. They are as good a crew as is out there,” said Dugger Hughes of the Southwest Coordination Center, an interagency organization in New Mexico that coordinates state and federal firefighting resources. He also is a wildland battalion chief whose command includes a hotshot team.

 

“They knew what they were getting into. It had to be pretty dramatic. I’m anxious to see the report. I want to know what happened,” he said, noting that he has fought fires with the men who died. He saw no indication of communications failures

 

Read The Rest Of The Story.

 

 

blogger4peacelogo

 

smallobamaflag1

 

 

 

13 Responses

  1. Tragic. These firefighters are known to be the best of the best. I can only imagine the wind shifted and took them by surprise. I live in the fire zone where temps reached 128 degrees the other day. It’s staying around 120 right now. And then along comes a monsoonal weather climate expected to bring thunderstorms today through Friday. This is freakish weather. When will people see that climate change is real, increasingly dangerous and that the GOP is obstructing President Obama’s efforts to address this?

    Like

    • The GOPretenders don’t believe in Climate Change because Barack does, if he were to change his opinion on Climate Change, and publicly say it does not exist, you’d then see the GOPukes reverse their stance. Ms. Marion, America is truly fucked.

      This is tragic, and it just might have been very preventable.

      Like

    • Yes, this nation is doomed if something doesn’t change quickly. They would rather destroy this planet than see a black man save us. The idiocy, ignorance, arrogance and evil is blinding them.

      Like

      • So what can we/should we do?

        Like

      • I’m marching with Al Sharpton on August 24 in DC as a start. I recommend everyone join in. Also, get out the vote and educate the masses. Join local Democrat groups, join Organizing For Action and VOTE in 2014 and 2016 and beyond!! It’s time for us all to take a stand like Egypt. We must put Congress on notice that we are not going to let their obstruction and corruption stand. We cannot leave it to others to take action. WE ARE IT!!

        Thank you for being a voice and spreading the word, Mr. J.B. You are going a long way toward educating us.

        http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fnationalactionnetwork.net%2Fmow%2F&h=1AQH1GFHx

        Like

      • Rev Al’s Organization is a very good one. Be sure to take many photos of your march on August 24th, and post ‘em on your blog. I am so proud of states like Wisconsin and especially Texas. I believe Rick Perry is going down!!

        Like

      • Will do. :)

        Like

  2. Saw this in our country. So very sad

    Like

  3. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Very sad but factual information! Honor the fallen …

    Like

  4. God Bless their souls as they transitioned from this world.

    Like

Reply At Your Own Risk. Leave The Dumbfuckery At The Door.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 274,978 other followers

%d bloggers like this: