Skip to comments.19 firefighters killed in Arizona wildfire were part of elite Hotshot crew (Additional Info)
Posted on 07/01/2013 8:19:51 AM PDT by Timber Rattler
Nineteen members of an elite firefighting crew who were killed Sunday in an Arizona wildfire tried to protect themselves by deploying tent-like structures before they were overtaken, a state forestry spokesman says.
Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said the firefighters, whose names had not been released, were part of the citys fire department. A helicopter pilot discovered the bodies and authorities are working to remove them, a Department of Public Safety spokesperson said, according to Fox 10.
Nineteen fire shelters were deployed on Sunday, and some of the firefighters were found inside them, while others were outside the shelters, Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman, told the Arizona Republic.
The fire killed all but one member of the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots crew, which were known for battling the regions worst fires, including two earlier this season. The average age of the men in the crew was 22-years-old, Fox 10 reports.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
The shelters aren’t perfect, nothing is, but for all 19 to fail?
Something is very wrong here.
careful Boss...the fire turned in 11 minutes from 6 mph to over 50 mph right across them...the aluminum sleeve cover was all they had and most could get no oxygen...I live here and know the facts
The devices didn't fail. The environment simply exceeded what they were designed for.
I remember several years ago the same thing happened in Colorado killing about the same number of firefighters --many of whom were college-aged volunteers. The winds shifted and the flames spread faster than they could run for their lives. They roasted inside their heat-resistant covers on the mountainside. It caused a huge outcry because they were killed while fighting to save property. No lives were in danger (except their's).
Still, there should be enough trapped air under the aluminum pup-tent to sustain them shouldn’t there?
I’m not looking to blame someone, I’m looking to how to improve the shelters, crew deployment and/or the training to enhance survival.
Clearly something systematic wasn’t up to the challenge, else at least some of them would have survived.
Thanks. What needs to change?
The heat can and does suck the oxygen out of them as fuel. In the Dresden firestorm, thousands suffocated in basements and shelters.
But it seems at best these fire resistant (proof?) "tents" may be providing false security to some folks who deserve better.
My condolences to the families and associates. d:^)
Horrible, and now the MSM is blaming this on Global Warming.
We lost 6 fire fighters in the “Dude” fire (the one in 1990 that destroyed the Zane Grey cabin). The deployed their tent, didn’t save them. Different type of fire, high Ponderosas, but sadly same result.
Yes. Dresden was an extraordinary massive firestorm, as one can only get with vast amounts of fuel, and overwhelming deployment of incendiary devices.
We know the shelters were oxygen starved because the bodies inside burst into flames when rescuers cracked open the doors and let air in.
What needs to change?
Here’s another relevant question: how much of the current wildfire problem can be blamed on the Dims gutting of programs to clear underbrush in national forests and on other public lands. As I recall, the environmental lobby pushed hard to let the forests remain “natural” and the Dims went along, creating explosive fire conditions during times of extreme heat and drought.
That is one thing that needs to change.
It appears that in this Arizona fire, it was a no win situation. Dreadful.
There’s really not much anyone can do to “fight” a forest fire. You can build fire lines, but if the fire gets going fast, and the fuel is dry, those embers get blown across and you’re in trouble. You can start backfires to burn the fuel in front of a fire in a controlled manner, but forest fires can get so big and strong that they start to create their own weather. The fundamentals of fire are pretty basic. The more fuel you have, the bigger fire you’ll get, and removing fuel from the forest has become an issue of aesthetics and politics, and not forest management. The cold, hard truth is that it takes big equipment to fight forest fires, and big equipment leaves nasty tracks in Bambi’s playground. There’s not much that twenty people with shovels and chainsaws can do to stop a big fire. They can draw some good pay. They can be on TV to show people that the government is doing something. They have jobs that help lower the unemployment rate. They put a lot of money into the local economy. But fighting big forest fires? Not much they can do. Unfortunately, like our military, to our politicians this is an acceptable level of casualties. Hot, tired, thirsty and scared.
The unstated environmental wackos policy regarding the forests: Let it grow, let it rot, let it burn.
There’s a reason why it’s the last ditch protection device. It’s only used in a situation where the person is almost certainly going to die anyway, there’s a very slim chance of the fire passing the zone fast enough for the shelter to accomplish anything. It’ll will protect them from being in the center of the fire for a few minutes tops, if the fire hangs out in their area too long, or burns too hot forget it. It’s a slim chance off survival device used in situations with no chance of survival.
As you say.