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Sad news. 19 firefighters have been killed fighting a forest fire in Arizona. They took shelter in their emergency fire shelte

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  • Sad news. 19 firefighters have been killed fighting a forest fire in Arizona. They took shelter in their emergency fire shelte

    Sad news. 19 firefighters have been killed fighting a forest fire in Arizona. They took shelter in their emergency fire shelters but did not make it.

  • #2
    That is a tragic loss, and I'm saddened to read it. I've just returned home and will listen to the news. I feel badly for the families of these brave firefighters. I resolve to be very careful in the field; I wouldn't want anything like this on my conscience.

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    • #3
      A young man whom I trained the last few fire seasons is part of that crew. Phone has been ringing off the hook for the past few hours, I have no news to tell anyone as I haven't been informed if he is amongst the dead. I am bracing myself for the worst as I know Hotshot crews are composed of 20. My deepest sympathies for the families of those who have been lost.

      Comment


      • #4
        Jeezus! Terrible news! That must be the single worst disaster in wildland fire fighting history. As I recall only 16 men were lost in the crew of smokejumpers burned up in Gates of the Mountains way back in the 1930s. Let's see ... okay, Mann Gulch fire claimed only thirteen men. It was 1949. I was trail crew boss in that district back in the early 1980s. I remember reflecting on the memorial in the draw where they died.

        I was on the Flathead hotshot crew before I switched to that job out of Helena. That is every firefighter's worst nightmare. I had to deploy my shelter once in 1977. Damned scary. I was sure it was my LAST nightmare. Montana, any word on where the crew was based?

        Terrible fire season in the SW right now. They expect temps in parts of eastern California to reach 128 degrees by Tuesday.

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        • #5
          It is confirmed this was the deadliest single incident in US wildland firefighting history. Previous record was fourteen killed on Colorado's Storm King fire in 1994. The entire crew was lost. Apparently they were short one person, likely due to injury which is very common.

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          • #6
            Ed, the fire was lightning caused.

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            • #7
              The crew was based out of Prescott, AZ. May they RIP.

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              • #8
                May they RIP.

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                • #9
                  A most horrible, horrible thing. Prayers to all affected. May God bless them as heros

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                  • #10
                    I hope the monsoons come early. Very tragic.

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                    • #11
                      Several months ago a city near here had its first line-of-duty firefighter death, the town was devastated. The city's entire fire department turned out for the funeral procession, while neighboring departments handled the 911 calls.
                      I knew this great man as he helped my father several times, its not only a loss to a city when a firefighter loses his life, it is a loss to America.

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                      • #12
                        The shelters used today are much improved over what they were thirty years ago but they still won't save your life except under the right circumstances. Fuel load where they are deployed is the most important factor. That's why the crews must never get too far ahead of their safety zone (area cleared of fuels just for the purpose of escape and shelter deployment if needed). I recall several years ago when a couple of firefighters died when the crew deployed shelters after stacking their gear in the center of the safety zone and hunkering next to it. The gear burned and so did a few of the firefighters. In Idaho a couple members of another crew died when they deployed their shelter without wearing their gloves. The shelter requires that you physically hold down the edges. The grass around the shelter burned their hands, they panicked, and died. Except when eating, gloves should ALWAYS be worn on the fire line. I once kicked a macho punk off my crew who refused to wear his gloves. Also, crews caught away from their safety zones (or looking to create a safety zone) should not necessarily run down to where there is water (i.e. creeks and gullies). Fuel loads will generally be much denser there.

                        Sounds like this fire just ran over the crew at lightning speed and they had no chance to make it to their safety zone. I understand the Storm King incident was similarly also an unexpected blow up. The Mann Gulch tragedy was operator error. The firefighters ran into the gulch rather than getting to the ridge tops. And, yes, fires can move at lightning speed. In the 1960s a fire lookout in California recorded a big fire near Oakhurst running at well in excess of a hundred miles an hour. Vehicles on the highway racing the same fire similarly observed it blowing their doors off (metaphorically speaking) when their speedometer registered 70 mph! The fire went past them like they were standing still!

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                        • #13
                          Montana my prayers go out to you and all the others effected by this horrible tragedy. As a northern arizona resident i am constantly astounded by the strength, resolve and bravery of the people I see walk by me every day. I know that there are many people hurting but I have also watched the communities come together in times of tragedy. for those wondering about the fire it is in an area that has been effected worst by the drought of the last 10 years or so. the fuel load is very high and dry. we had our first monsoon yesterday with possible rain all the way to friday this has a possibility for much need rain and wetness but also brings the possibility for more lightning and fires. Finally please be praying for the people effected by the fire and this tragedy. Also for a friend of mine who is on a hotshot crew based of of flagstaff currently fighting the fire.

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                          • #14
                            This fire was from a lightning strike and pushed by 50-60 mph winds with gusts. My family was with friends at their place in Christopher Creek (AZ) the past week. On Friday afternoon we had a dry lighting strike that set a live oak on fire. SCARY! We got it out with the help of neighbors. There was about 20 minutes of dry lightning, and the temps were in the mid-90s, about 20 degrees above normal. The elevation is 6,700 feet, and conditions are incredibly dry. Lots of folks in our mountain communities sitting on pins and needles, praying for rain.

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                            • #15
                              Tonight on the way out to a greenhouse to pick up some shrubbery I drove by one of the city firehalls on the edge of town and noticed flag was NOT at half mast. As you can imagine, that didn't sit very well with me! I just gave the station master an earful on the phone. He apologized and said he'd make sure the chief did something about it in the morning so that all flags in the city are lowered.

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