Public Safety & Justice

19 Firefighters Killed Battling Arizona Wildfire

Nineteen elite firefighters who died battling a fast-moving wildfire here Sunday in the country's worst wildfire disaster in at least 30 years have been hailed by President Obama as "heroes."
July 1, 2013
 

Nineteen elite firefighters who died battling a fast-moving wildfire here Sunday in the country's worst wildfire disaster in at least 30 years have been hailed by President Obama as "heroes."

In a statement released early Monday as he prepared to travel to Tanzania from South Africa, Obama said, "Michelle and I join all Americans in sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of these brave firefighters."

Gusting winds and dry grass fed the blaze as it tore through the communities of Yarnell and Glen Isla about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix. An estimated 200 homes and many businesses have been destroyed.

Early Monday, local media reported the fire was zero percent contained.

"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 them were found inside their shelters, which are tent-like structures meant to shield firefighters from flames and heat. They are typically used as a last resort.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.

More from Public Safety & Justice