ENVIRONMENT: GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE : TEMPERATURES AND CLIMATE: 19 Firefighters Dead in Yarnell Hill Fire
ENVIRONMENT: GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE :
TEMPERATURES AND CLIMATE:
19 Firefighters Dead in Yarnell Hill Fire
19 Firefighters Dead in Yarnell Hill Fire
By Jackee Coe, Laurie Merrill and Michelle Ye Hee Lee
AZCentral.com Mon Jul 1, 2013 12:11 AM
A shorter URL for the above link:
Arizona 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.
Its a dark day, said Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division
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. Its unknown what fire crew the 19th firefighter belonged
to. 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.
At Mile High Middle School, dozens of cars filled the parking lot as
family and friends of the firefighters were gathered. There, they received
official confirmation of the firefighters deaths.
Through the night, people slowly filed out of the middle school, holding
one another and looking ashen.
Juliann Ashcraft said she found out her firefighter husband, Andrew, was
among the dead by watching the news with her four children.
They died heroes, she said, crying and wiping tears away from her eyes.
And well miss them. We love them.
On Sunday afternoon, Ninabill decided to take a nap around 1:30 p.m.
"The next thing I know, hes bouncing me off the couch telling me were
being evacuated, she said.
Chuck frantically tried to rescue their hot rod and three classic cars by
preparing to tow them out. He was only able to hook up the hot rod before
the fire had traveled from 300 yards to only about 40 feet away.
There were embers hitting us on the head, Ninabill said. She told him they
needed to leave right then.
We went through the flames to get out, Chuck said, estimating that if they
had waited minutes more, they would have died. The smoke was so thick that
they could not see the front of the car, they said.
I have never felt anything that hot in my entire life, Ninabill said. The
wind was blowing so hard, it was truly a firestorm.
Rancher John Hays, 85, lives in the heart of Peeple's Valley. He said the
fire is burning the edge of his property line, but as of 9:30 p.m., it was
burning only brush.
"You can't believe the fierce winds we're having and how dry it is I've
never seen it so erratic the fire turns back and forth" Hays said. "The
horror is that people have died trying to put it out. It's heartbreaking.
Annie Gaines, 61, was certain she lost her home in Yarnell, where she
lived for eight years. Gaines and her daughter, Neatie, arrived at the Red
Cross shelter at Yavapai Community College with only their Chevrolet van,
two dogs and a safe with their birth certificates.
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