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More Firefighters Sent to Battle Arizona Blaze That Killed 19

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July 01, 2013
U.S. officials say a team of 19 firefighters died Sunday while battling an Arizona wildfire about 130 kilometers northwest of Phoenix. The United States Wildland Firefighters Association confirmed the deaths on its Facebook page. A state forestry official, Art Morrison, told CNN the firefighters were an elite crew. He said it appeared the fire overtook them, and by the time other firefighters reached them, they had been killed.

Related video of Arizona wildfires

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VOA News
More elite teams are being sent to battle an out-of-control inferno that killed 19 firefighters Sunday in the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona.

A sudden wind storm turned the forest fire into one requiring the so-called "hot shot" crew that is trained to fight the fiercest fires. The flames swept over the victims late Sunday as they took cover in foil-lined emergency shelters.

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It was the nation's biggest loss of firefighters in a wildfire in 80 years, and the deadliest single day for U.S. firefighters since September 11, 2001.
 
Officials say the number of firefighters is expected to more than double from the 200 on the scene early Monday.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who is in Africa, issued a statement early Monday calling the firefighters "heroes," and saying his thoughts and prayers were with the firefighters' families during the tragedy.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called it "as dark a day as I can remember."  She added it may be days or longer before an investigation reveals how the tragedy occurred.

The fast-moving fire near the small town of Yarnell, about 130 kilometers northwest of Phoenix, has burned 34 square kilometers since Friday and destroyed several buildings.  

Arizona, and the neighboring western states of California and Nevada are in the middle of an extreme heat wave. Temperatures have reached record highs, and excessive heat warnings are in effect across the region.

  • Stephen Grady reads notes left at the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew fire station in Prescott, Arizona, July 2, 2013.
  • Linda Lambert places her hand across a plaque hanging on the fence outside the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew fire station in Prescott, Arizona, July 2, 2013.
  • Casen Beyea, 3, wearing a toy fireman helmet looks at the cross for Andrew Ashcrast with his mother Christine at a memorial in Prescott, Arizona, July 2, 2013.
  • Karis Ashby, a local resident, puts up a thank you sign to firefighters in Congress, Arizona, July 1, 2013, a day after an elite squad of 19 Arizona firefighters were killed in the worst U.S. wildland fire tragedy in 80 years.
  • A photo of Wade Parker, one of 19 firefighters who died battling a fast-moving wildfire, is displayed at a makeshift memorial in Prescott, Arizone, July 1, 2013.
  • An aerial view of a section of the town of Yarnell, Arizona destroyed by a wildfire that ripped throught the town, July 1, 2013.
  • The Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew is shown in this undated handout photo provided by the City of Prescott, Arizona, July 1, 2013.
  • Firefighters embrace as a group during a memorial service in Prescott, Arizona, July 1, 2013.
  • A tribute message for firefighters is displayed on the windows of a coffee shop in Prescott, Arizona, July 1, 2013.
  • A wildfire burns homes in Yarnell, Arizona, June 30, 2013.
  • In this photo shot by firefighter Andrew Ashcraft on June 30, 2013, members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots watch a growing wildfire that later swept over and killed the crew of 19 firefighters near Yarnell, Arizona.

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by: TheMemorium from: Boerne, Texas
July 03, 2013 1:03 AM
RIP to the fallen firefighters of Granite Mountain Hotshots who fought bravely during the tragic Arizona Blaze. Your heroism will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your family. We made an online memorial in honor of the fallen firefighters: http://www.thememorium.com/Memorials/arizona-blaze-heroes


by: Holly from: Nashville, TN
July 02, 2013 1:15 PM
I believe these families and falling heros are due respect and sympathy as they mourn their lost lives. Please be respectful, this is a tragedy and these families need us to prove that there is appreciation for the loss of their loved ones.... My heart goes out to those who are suffering the loss of a loved one.


by: Herb from: Tonasket, WA
July 01, 2013 3:27 PM
If all these prayers and thoughts going out to the dead firefighters and their families were of any use, why not do them before the guys are killed in a fire?
Just goes to show that prayers are worthless. What counts is letting nature fires take their course, and not fight them. If one builds a residence in a forest, one takes the chance of fire eating the building.


by: Anonymous
July 01, 2013 12:18 PM
Slute


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 01, 2013 11:13 AM
Oh, what a disaster! What a pity! Coming in the heels of the supreme court victory for same sex marriage, could it be an ominous sign? Are celestial inhabitants angry with us? Just wondering how it is from a lightning strike, then fire instead of wetness, then 19 human lives gone in a spark... This is not acceptable. The US should reappraise its stand with God. Rejecting God has never led any people anywhere. Civilization without the place for God is chaotic. If it is not flood today, it is fire tomorrow. Now thunder! Where are we going from here?

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