Largest loss of American firefighters since September 11, 2001
Arizona State forestry officials confirmed Sunday night that 19 firefighters have died in the Yarnell Hill Fire that has ripped through half of the town, sent residents to Prescott for safety and given the state its biggest ever wildfire firefighter tragedy.
“It’s a dark day,” said Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman.
Reichling said the 19 firefighters were found in an area that also had 19 fire shelters deployed. Some of those found were inside a shelter, which is typically used as a last resort to withstand the fire as it blows over. Some of the crew members were found outside the shelters
Officials said 18 of the deceased were members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots team. It’s unknown what fire crew the 19th firefighter was a member of. The firefighters are part of a team that is typically sent in first to help cut off the fire, Reichling said
“They were up there doing what they normally do,” he said.
Read more 19 firefighters dead