The Arizona blaze lashed out its fiery flames, resulting in 19 firefighters dead. Hot, raging winds blew the fire out of control on Sunday and the forest in northwest part of Phoenix was completely in the grip of lashing flames. The 19 firefighters who died were a part of the elite cadre of firefighters who have served the US for more than 32 years.
The heat wave which has gripped the United States is known to be the most severe in recent years, with some desert areas reaching an unbearable 120 degrees. The fire razed down more than 200 houses in the forest above Yarnell, a little town with about 700 people, just northwest of Phoenix. Most people had vacated from their place. So far no injuries or deaths of civilians have been reported apart from the casualties of 19 firefighters. More than 2000 acres of the area have been reduces to ashes, with low humidity, hot temperature and windy conditions adding to the woes.
These elite firefighters who were part of the city’s most elite fire department, were known to venture into the wilderness with heavy gear and chain saws to cut down trees or any other things that can increase the likelihood of fire spread into homes and towns.
Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo, while paying a tribute to these brave countrymen, noted, “Under certain conditions there’s usually only sometimes a 50 percent chance that they survive. It’s an extreme measure that’s taken under the absolute worst conditions.”
This is the deadliest wild forest fire incident as far as killing of firefighters are concerned. The second most deadly was the 1994 Storm King Fire at Colorado, which killed 14 firefighters.
Arizona Wildfire Pictures