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.
The shelters protect from fire and heat, but not from lack of oxygen or smoke inhalation. I don't think the Hotshots carry oxygen tanks and masks, but I could be wrong.
The feds need to back off and let the forests be maintained. That is the main thing that needs to be changed. These guys fight a losing battle against heavy fuel loads and federal regulations. And although these guys were locals, a lot of the time they bring in crews from across the country that are unfamiliar with the terrain and weather conditions of the area. The Monument Fire a couple of years ago was a prime example of this. The locals did their best but the feds impeded things at every turn.
You are correct.
Hubby was IC (incident. commander) of a 550 person team of marines in Montana many years ago. He was a county watershed expert that the BLM had requested to fight a fire there. They went to work at 8 every morning and at 5 pm they all packed up and went to fire camp. He laughed so hard. He had always fought fires in teams round the clock. They had commissioned him for 3 mnths. Lol
With Monument, by the time they would let the planes get in the air the wind had picked up and there wasn’t much they could do. If they had been allowed to take off in the morning before our winds picked up, they could have had it out several times. If they had bothered to listen to the locals it would have saved homes and money and the forest. Luckily there was no loss of life in that instance but the locals were pissed. Praying for these brave men and their families. They fight a hard battle.
When you get your Red Card from the Forest Service to work the fires, these survival shelters are called “Shake and Bake” - it is widely accepted that your chances of survival with them are small indeed.
Prayers to the fallen.
Listen to the locals? What do those hayseed hicks know?
Due to environmentalists not allowing us to manage our forests these fires become white hot deathtraps. The good news is no loggers are going to cut those trees.
Pray for America to Wake Up
Shake and bakes are a last ditch effort. They do not always work, but most times they do. But with Az scrubby tree brush and a sudden wind shift they can cause a whole lot more heat for a whole lot longer than you can possible build for. If you are downwind of a fire that is starved for fuel, the incomplete combustion causes a massive spike in Carbon Monoxide.
A shake and bake is an insulated heat reflector, not and air supply system. With a grass fire it is possible to scrape all fuel away from a spot, deploy the tent and see if your will is strong enough to stay in the tent as the heat rises. If it is a flash fire, you will make it. But a wind shift with high winds can cause a fire storm that nothing can survive.
Arsonists need to be burned at the stake, not sent to a low security prison.
>>The feds need to back off and let the forests be maintained. <<
Can’t do that and have Agenda 21 at the same time. Sorry but the forest gotta go.
The use of the word “elite’ in this article.
The news media has to put a spin on everything.
Agreed, the punishment should fit the crime.
But this was a lighting fire.
In the Feds opinion nothing. We get the same reaction from the Tucson and Pheonix folks when we go up for the state Republican Meetings. get the feeling they think we all are a bunch of idiots.
Monument is a prime example of federal overreach and failure. Not to mention it started about 20 feet from the border fence on the Mexico side. It was set on purpose but you didn’t hear it in the media. Our guys weren’t allowed to do anything until it crossed the line. It could have been out the first day.
LOL. Funny you should mention Agenda 21. According to their maps, our little corner of SE Arizona isn’t supposed to be inhabited when they get done.
I have no idea.
Me neither, but there have been a few good suggestions so far.
Yep. When I was 15 I worked on a YCC corp group. We had a one week “vacation” from working in the North Scottsdale Desert during the summer, and got to work up on the Rim, stacking “slash”. I don’t even know if they clear out the brush like that anymore in the forest.
Exactly my point, Sir.
I don’t think there is much false sense of security with something that is explicitly a last-ditch device. Even if there is, so what? Personally, I’d rather die with a false sense of hope than no hope.
They do the same thing on airlines, telling people “in case of a water landing, your seat cushion can be used as a floatation device”. Nobody has ever landed a jumbo jet on the water without it disintegrating, so nobody will ever get the chance to drown, much less use a floatation device. But if it gives people some hope, and keeps them from panicking, what is the harm?
It’s amazing how many people don’t take it seriously. They think there is no way to get rid of towns the size of Sierra Vista and Douglas. All they would have to do is set some fires, force us to evacuate and then not let us back in.
Unfortunately most FReepers do not give Agenda 21 or the New World Order any credence whatsoever, possibly because they cannot conceive how America could change from the country where individual liberty was once displayed everywhere to a communist controlled society.
Most don’t understand how far down that road we already are.
I’ll tell you what needs to change. The stupid environmentist and their control. These fire prone areas NEED to be cleaned up without their complaining and griping all the time.
Laws need to be loosened.
And even at that, BAD stuff still happens. :(
Slaughterhouse-Five, a novel by Kurt Vonnegut is based on his World War II experiences as a POW held in a slaughter house basement refrigerator in Dresden. He related that when they left their shelter they saw perfectly normal "people sitting on benches near the sidewalk, as if they were waiting for the trolly. All were dead from suffocation."
Vonnegut was never quite the same...
Something is very wrong here
Sometimes these fires are too hot and sustained to allow these measures to protect the occupant. Fire will use ALL the oxygen which I surmise was a component in this case.
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