Nineteen Members of Granite Mountain Hotshots from Prescott Killed in Rapid Moving Wildfire Near Yarnell, Arizona

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Video from ABC 15 produced when 18 firefighters were confirmed killed while fighting Yarnell wildfire near Prescott, Arizona (ABC15.COM article).

A fire that was moving away from Yarnell, Arizona, changed direction when the winds shifted and then headed toward the town — killing 19 firefighters near Yarnell, and destroying about half of the town.

The fire grew from eight acres to an astonishing 2,000 acres in three hours, according to ABC 15. The fire is believed to have started from a lightning strike after extremely hot and dry weather had dried out brush in the area.

The 19 firefighters killed were members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a specialist team of wildfire fighters based in Prescott, Arizona. According to the official Prescott Fire Department website, the Granit Mountain Hotshots had 80 hours of annual critical training and refresher work.

The firefighters deployed fire shelters — giant double layered blanket with materials, including aluminum foil, that are used to shield a firefighter from both radiant heat and direct heat, while also allowing firefighters to breath air from the ground. The shelter can withstand up to 500°F (see video on fire shelters below).

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Before Sunday, Arizona had lost 21 firefighter to fatalities in wildfires since 1955, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The fire Sunday represents the largest number of firefighters killed in one wildfire since a wildfire in California killed 25 firefighters in 1933, and the largest loss of firefighters since 341 firefighters and two paramedics died in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the towns of Yarnell and Peeples Valley are being evacuated. A reverse 911 call has been sent and the Sheriff’s Office is going door-to-door to alert residents.

The Yarnell Hill fire started on Friday June 29, 2013 and is now 800-1000 acres. Hall’s Type 2 team assumed command of the fire at 1000 hrs today. Firefighters are working to secure the eastern flank of the fire and protect any homes at risk from the evacuated areas. A type 1 incident management team has been ordered.

A reverse 911 call was sent and the Sheriff’s Office deputies went door-to-door to alert residents. A large animal shelter is being set up at the Hidden Springs Ranch on Hwy 89 SW of Hayes Ranch Road. A people and small animal shelter is being opened at Yavapai College at 1100 E. Sheldon in Prescott.

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has established three road block areas: junction of Hwy 89 and Hayes Ranch Road; Hayes Ranch Road and Sickles Ranch Road; and Buckhorn Road and Frontier Road.

A forestry spokesman in Arizona says 19 firefighters died battling a wildfire. The firefighters were caught by the fire on Sunday afternoon while battling a fire near Yarnell, in Central Arizona.

ABC15.COM By Sunday evening half the structures in Yarnell had been destroyed.

Yarnell (population 645) at the 2000 census has an economy based on ranching, mining and services.


The New Generation Fire Shelter – National Wildfire Coordinating Group 2003 – NFES 2712 – The new generation fire shelter offers improved protection from radiant and convective heat. All federal, state, and local wildland firefighters carry the fire shelter while working federal fires. As always, the fire shelter should be used only as a last resort. No product will guarantee a firefighters survival in an entrapment situation. Firefighters should do everything they can to avoid situations where they need to deploy a fire shelter.

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Granite Mountain Hotshots (Prescott Fire Department official website)

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