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(My Fox Phoenix)   18 Firefighters confirmed dead battling Arizona wildfire (article updated)   (myfoxphoenix.com) divider line 341
    More: News, Yarnell Hill, Tonto National Forest, Wildfires in Arizona  
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8415 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Jun 2013 at 11:20 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-01 08:05:46 AM
No other profession (or hobby) comes as close to true heroism than firefighting. None.

These brave men and women stare the raw fury of physics in the face and strive to work their will upon it. Most times, they succeed. Some times they fail, and the consequences are often catastrophic. Unlike LEO's, they don't militarize and treat everybody as potential firebugs. They don't make sudden, erratic maneuvers in traffic, then speed at 120 to write somebody a ticket for doing 70 in a 55. Some of them parachute into the middle of a forest fire with nothing more than they can carry. These are the bravest of the brave. Not even the Hellfighters, who extinguish oil well fires using nitroglycerine rise to this level. These 19 heroes will be sorely missed.
 
2013-07-01 08:10:01 AM

HAMMERTOE: No other profession (or hobby) comes as close to true heroism than firefighting. None.

These brave men and women stare the raw fury of physics in the face and strive to work their will upon it. Most times, they succeed. Some times they fail, and the consequences are often catastrophic. Unlike LEO's, they don't militarize and treat everybody as potential firebugs. They don't make sudden, erratic maneuvers in traffic, then speed at 120 to write somebody a ticket for doing 70 in a 55. Some of them parachute into the middle of a forest fire with nothing more than they can carry. These are the bravest of the brave. Not even the Hellfighters, who extinguish oil well fires using nitroglycerine rise to this level. These 19 heroes will be sorely missed.


Very well put.  Not to give police TOO harsh a treatment, some of them are good guys, but generally speaking the police are not people I want to have around.  I've never said "DAMNIT, he comes a firefighter.  Why can't he just leave us alone!"  I think 9/11 told us everything we needed to know about firefighters.  The world is a worse place today without those 19 heroes indeed.
 
2013-07-01 09:14:10 AM

brantgoose: I am sorry.

My uncle used to be a head forester for a major forestry company and would spend days on site supervising forest fire fighting units. This was not an office job--the bosses are close enough to the fire that if it turns they may be surrounded. Three days with no sleep under hellish conditions is not a picnic, and the front line fighters have it worse.

My father was Fire Chief in the village because the company had the only truck equpped to pump water. Not much you can do when a tinder-dry woodframe house goes up in the middle of the night except hose down the ashes and the roofs of nearby houses, make sure it doesn't spread.

I can feel for the families and friends of men and women fighting fires, although even my family experience with fires is tame compared to what the front lines face in Arizona.

To start with, Arizona starts out hot enough to open jack pine seeds. Last year was the second most extreme year in the USA and the hottest.

So much for claims that global warming has stopped and that scientists are renouncing their belief in anthropogenic climate change. Don't you believe it. Naomi Oreske's meta-study which showed that 97% of papers support ACC has been followed up. She read about 700 papers--the new study read the conclusiions of about ten times that--it is still 97% agreement. The other 3% are dyed in the wool contrarians.

Death Valley is close to breaking or has broken a 100-year-old record of 130F. It's been over 120F in Phoenix and records are falling before July 4th.

Here's food for thought from a Fortune article announcing the deaths of these 19 peacetime heroes:

Not including the 19 deaths reported in Arizona, there have been 43 firefighter fatalities reported so far in 2013, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. A total of 83 firefighters died last year while on duty.

So we're ten deaths short of last year, a year from Hell. And that Arizona hot spot is sitting over the South West, while a cool spot squats over the Great ...


While I don't disagree with your statements about Climate Change, IMHO:

1) The time for it isn't in the middle of a thread about a loss more tragic than events like the Mann Gulch fire.  They wrote songs and made movies about it that had grown men crying - and this is a worse loss than that by almost 50%.

2) I would caution you to not make the same mistake that the contrarians make every time it snows in April in Missouri or Nebraska.  Weather does not equal Climate.  Yes, it's hot now.  Yes, it will be cold in January.  It is the totality of these hot and cold days viewed in the whole that dictates climate.

But seriously - this is horrible.  I heard it is the worse single loss for American Firefighters since 9/11.  Thoughts and prayers.  Truly a wrenching event.
 
2013-07-01 09:23:08 AM
I was ruminating over this sad incident as I was getting ready to start my day today. The investigation will determine how much LCES/the 10&18 (safety guidelines) were broken - as they always are in these situations. But even if they were followed essentially to a tee, there's just not much to be done if a blowout occurs, such as the initial reports are saying in this case. Wildland firefighting, whether someone's on the engines or the hotshots, is dangerous as hell.

Losing an entire hotshot crew is a bad way to start what is already an explosive fire season. :( ...and there are still many months to go.

MplsMedic: I have friends on the department.  The fire suddenly backtracked on them.  They didn't have time to run, so they tried to get in their fire shelters and it overtook them.  Fark folks, this is NOT the time to be criticizing how these brave men and women did their jobs.  I went to school with many of them, and taught EMT classes.  Good people died today doing their jobs.  Praise them for their bravery, and pray for the ones left behind.


Amen.

//experienced a couple of VERY close calls in my fire days
/there's nothing more terrifying
 
2013-07-01 09:41:44 AM
 
2013-07-01 10:09:55 AM
Shields inconsolable.

Can I get a grin in all this sorrow?

/PHX
//Shields might still be in Sedona?
 
2013-07-01 10:53:01 AM

HempHead: WippitGuud: HempHead:
19 dead firemen is a small price to pay to save 50 empty houses built from combustible materials out in the wilderness.

If only there was a fire proof material houses could be built from.

So, you would choose to just let the fire burn uncontrolled?

Yes. I believe Yellowstone National Park has adopted this policy. Stopping a natural fire merely creates the environment for huge fire after a few years.

Or, mandate 200 yard fire breaks around every house and stop them from being built from wood.


Would changing building materials really help that much? Every house is full of flammable shiat even if you build it out of cinderblocks, and the problem is not that houses catch on fire, it's that the wilderness catches on fire and as a very minor side effect some houses get crisped. Crisp a house built from cinderblocks and it will probably still be a write-off.
 
2013-07-01 10:58:30 AM
a few have mentioned the Mann Gulch fire of 1949.  i saw some pictures from earlier yesterday of what must've been Hot Shot team members, patrolling dry grassy areas, and i couldn't help but remember the climax of the Mann Gulch story:  when the Smokejumper foreman lit an escape fire and laid in the middle of the area he burnt out himself, and lived.  he tried to get others to come with him, but they didn't understand.

given that history, i was surprised to read today that the Hot Shot crew's training is to dig into the ground and shelter under heat shields.  i know the escape fire wouldn't work in a forest, but having lived in AZ and traveled to areas a lot like Yarnell, i guess i find it easiest to imagine that they were overtaken in an area like they're standing in in the photo below.  not that i know with any authority, of course.

i don't bring it up to cast blame; certainly the firefighters themselves seem to have done exactly what they were trained to do.  one of the legacies of Mann Gulch, though, is lessons learned and lessons forgotten; do we train these teams to use escape fires when appropriate today?  is there something about what was done at Mann Gulch that can't be applied to other grassy, hilly areas?  (as i already mentioned, i know an escape fire wouldn't be helpful in a forest.)

images.latinospost.com
(source:   http://www.latinospost.com/articles/22561/20130630/arizona-wildfires- 2 013-updates-maps-yarnell-hill-fire-spreads-800.htm)
 
2013-07-01 11:07:31 AM

firefly212: thelunatick: Elzar: That had to be about the worst article I have read lately - 18 firefighters dead, zero details or even mention of them past sentence one. Are these things now being crowdsourced to twitter for content creation?

Jesus Fuking Christ


In a wildfire details are always almost impossible.   They are unpredictable and highly dangerous.  It could have been something as simple as the wind shifting, or the heat causing a gust that drove the fire into their laps.  They can cover hundreds of feet in seconds.

Do wildland firefighters not carry emergency shelters there? I know the fires move fast and all, but I'd like to think that we're learning from previous disasters. =/
Did the shelters not work?

IIRC, the fire shelters got better after the Payson (sp) Arizona fire in 1990.

I wonder what happened, but either way I feel terrible for the families of all the dead.


Yes, wildland firefighters carry shelters.  Those shelters work to a certain extent but they aren't capable of protecting from everything.  For starters, you've got to have good terrain and time to deploy.  If you'ur caught in a really bad spot, a fire capable of exploding trees and spotting miles ahead of the flame front aren't going to be deterred by a foil wrap.

They're nicknamed shake-n-bakes or brown-and-serves for a reason.

As to how it happened, at 5:00 the wind was blowing from the southwest at 12 mph with gusts to 22.  At 6, the wind was blowing from the northeast at 25 mph with gusts to 40.  I don't know if the shift was predicted or not, but if it wasn't then a complete 180 with a doubling of velocity is going to fark you up.

As to the 'half mile an hour' advance speed, that's the front as a whole and is meaningless in this situation.  To trap a team, all it had to do was make a single 5 minute run behind one of those 40mph gusts and the game's up.

I've been through the training and had my red card, but never fought a significant wildfire and I've got no desire to start.   Wildland firefighters don't have big brass ones, theirs are made from titanium.

/Rest in peace brothers and sisters, we've got the watch.
 
2013-07-01 11:45:06 AM

TheShavingofOccam123: Holy crap. The Great Chicago Fire, the Peshtigo Fire and the Great Michigan Fire all happened on the same day.

1700 died in the Peshtigo, at minimum 500 in the Michigan fire and another 300 in the Chicago fire.

That was not a good day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wildfires#North_America

It was an especially awful day for William Ogden (former mayor of Chicago) who lost his home, saw the city he had built leveled by fire, and lost the lumber mill and most of the timber acreage he owned in Peshtigo.
 
2013-07-01 11:48:26 AM
I live in Prescott.  This morning the region was coated in a thin layer of smoke.  We've lost our defenders.
 
2013-07-01 12:11:10 PM
This is my son's second year on a fire crew in Idaho so I am definitely NOT getting a kick out of this shiat.
 
2013-07-01 12:43:03 PM

Somebody Else: Great song by Richard Shindell about firefighters surrounded by a blaze:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgQNeGPJdcQ
"Cry Cry Cry sings of the devastation of the Mann Gulch fire of 1949 through the point of view of Dodge, one of the remaining survivors. "


Was quite surprised to see that the connection to this song was made so soon in the thread. It is one of the most powerful and moving examples of excellent songwriting out there, and really speaks to this incident.

/The Cry Cry Cry recording is haunting.
 
2013-07-01 12:57:17 PM
Graduated from Prescott High School, my parents still live there, and I visited them a week ago (drive through Yarnell every trip).

Spoke to an ex who saw many of the Hot Shots at Lizzard's on Cortez very recently. They gave her a big hug.

Desperately trying to find names--Likely went to school with several of them.

/Incredibly sad
 
2013-07-01 01:47:37 PM
And they were the elite firefighters.
Imagine if we'd sent amateur volunteers.

/Sorry, no property is worth this loss of life.
 
2013-07-01 01:53:35 PM

HotIgneous Intruder: And they were the elite firefighters.
Imagine if we'd sent amateur volunteers.

/Sorry, no property is worth this loss of life.


That's not why they were there. And "amateur" volunteers? You know nothing of the Volunteer Fire Service in the United States.

Do us a favor. Stop Monday Morning Quarterbacking.
 
2013-07-01 02:02:13 PM

hardinparamedic: HotIgneous Intruder: And they were the elite firefighters.
Imagine if we'd sent amateur volunteers.

/Sorry, no property is worth this loss of life.

That's not why they were there. And "amateur" volunteers? You know nothing of the Volunteer Fire Service in the United States.

Do us a favor. Stop Monday Morning Quarterbacking.


There's no quarterbacking here.
People are idiots.

Pick your battles and don't die.
Heroes are the ones who stay alive.
Darwin always wins.
 
2013-07-01 02:05:48 PM
HotIgneous Intruder:
/Sorry, no property is worth this loss of life.

I don't think they went in there intending to die, and I'm pretty sure you're aware of that too. So what point are you trying to make?
 
2013-07-01 02:20:38 PM

JesseL: HotIgneous Intruder:
/Sorry, no property is worth this loss of life.

I don't think they went in there intending to die, and I'm pretty sure you're aware of that too. So what point are you trying to make?


If not to protect lives or property, why were they there?
I hope the property they died protecting was "worth" it.
Homes were already burning.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/hotshots-crew-killed-ariz-w il dfire-trained-fierce-conditions-article-1.1386993
"Most people had evacuated from the town, and no injuries or other deaths were reported."
 
2013-07-01 03:01:52 PM
one of my oldest and best friends was one of the 19..... he was truly one of the best people anyones ever met. it makes me sick thinking how they died,but he was doing what he loved.

rest easy,zuppiger
 
2013-07-01 03:06:08 PM

JesseL: I see the concern trolls have squatted on this thread, as always.
Let the maudlin crocodile tears flow, trolls.


And for this, fark you.

I was in Yarnell on Friday. I can smell the smoke. My town just lost their entire hotshots crew. These guys went to my high school. A couple weeks ago they were defending the threatened homes of friends of mine. I didn't know them personally, but a lot of people I know did. They were heroes in this town long before they died.
 
2013-07-01 03:08:32 PM
Damn, quoted from my reply instead of HotIgneous Intruder.
 
2013-07-01 03:18:47 PM
Does anybody know if the names have been released?
 
2013-07-01 03:37:12 PM

violentsalvation: Does anybody know if the names have been released?


The family of one of the firefighters, Chris McKenzie, voluntarily released info to the media.
 
2013-07-01 03:40:26 PM

violentsalvation: Does anybody know if the names have been released?


a lot of them can be found online, but they haven't yet been released.
 
2013-07-01 03:50:49 PM

ecmoRandomNumbers: violentsalvation: Does anybody know if the names have been released?

The family of one of the firefighters, Chris McKenzie, voluntarily released info to the media.


Also Andrew Ashcroft:
sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net
 
2013-07-01 04:06:44 PM

JesseL: ecmoRandomNumbers: violentsalvation: Does anybody know if the names have been released?

The family of one of the firefighters, Chris McKenzie, voluntarily released info to the media.

Also Andrew Ashcroft:
[sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net image 500x670]


That's heartbreaking.
 
2013-07-01 05:45:32 PM

The Audacity Works: Graduated from Prescott High School, my parents still live there, and I visited them a week ago (drive through Yarnell every trip).

Spoke to an ex who saw many of the Hot Shots at Lizzard's on Cortez very recently. They gave her a big hug.

Desperately trying to find names--Likely went to school with several of them.

/Incredibly sad


The Prescott Hotshots are configured with one superintendent, two captains, two squad bosses, two lead crewmembers and thirteen seasonal employees.
Superintendent: Darin Fisher
Dan Matthews, Captain 1ATy Van Keuren, Squad BossBlake Shaw, Lead Crewmember7 Seasonal EmployeesAlanna English, Captain 1BJustin Baxter, Squad BossSean Henning, Lead Crewmember6 Seasonal EmployeesSend postal mail to:
USDA Forest Service
Prescott National Forest
Prescott Fire Center 
2400 Melville Road
Prescott, AZ 86301
 
2013-07-01 05:51:16 PM
Corrected formatting:

The Prescott Hotshots are configured with one superintendent, two captains, two squad bosses, two lead crewmembers and thirteen seasonal employees.

Superintendent: Darin Fisher

Dan Matthews, Captain 1A
Van Keuren, Squad Boss
Blake Shaw, Lead Crewmember
7 Seasonal Employees


Alanna English, Captain 1B
Justin Baxter, Squad Boss
Sean Henning, Lead Crewmember
6 Seasonal Employees

Send postal mail to:
USDA Forest Service
Prescott National Forest
Prescott Fire Center
2400 Melville Road
Prescott, AZ 86301
 
2013-07-01 06:30:51 PM
http://prescottaz.com/main.asp?FromHome=1&TypeID=1&ArticleID=120777&S e ctionID=1&SubSectionID=1
Those who lost their lives are:

• Ashcraft, Andrew - Age: 29

• Caldwell, Robert - Age: 23

• Carter, Travis - Age: 31

• Deford, Dustin - Age: 24

• MacKenzie, Christopher - Age: 30

• Marsh, Eric - Age: 43

• McKee, Grant - Age: 21

• Misner, Sean - Age: 26

• Norris, Scott - Age: 28

• Parker, Wade - Age: 22

• Percin, John - Age: 24

• Rose, Anthony - Age: 23

• Steed, Jesse - Age: 36

• Thurston, Joe - Age: 32

• Turbyfill, Travis - Age: 27

• Warneke, William - Age: 25

• Whitted, Clayton - Age: 28

• Woyjeck, Kevin - Age: 21

• Zuppiger, Garret - Age: 27
 
2013-07-01 07:43:58 PM

JesseL: http://prescottaz.com/main.asp?FromHome=1&TypeID=1&ArticleID=120777&S e ctionID=1&SubSectionID=1
Those who lost their lives are:



Weird, none of them were on the list I got off the forestry service site.
 
2013-07-01 08:25:08 PM

Lars The Canadian Viking: JesseL: http://prescottaz.com/main.asp?FromHome=1&TypeID=1&ArticleID=120777&S e ctionID=1&SubSectionID=1
Those who lost their lives are:


Weird, none of them were on the list I got off the forestry service site.


They weren't the Prescott Hotshots (which is a national forest crew), they were the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, which is a municipal crew (the only municipal hotshot crew in the country I think). Both are based out of Prescott, but they are separate crews.
 
2013-07-01 08:55:17 PM
From the In Memory of Prescott Firefighters Lost 6/30/2012 Facebook page:

"In Memory of my son Travis Turbyfill.
Ironically as Shari and I was doing some shop cleaning on Saturday,we found a kindergarten binder that was of Travis, he and the teachers had put together and this was one of the pages it contained. Even then he new what he wanted to do his whole life. I will continue to celebrate his and the others lives. I am sure most his brothers felt and lived the same.
Love
Dad "
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net
 
2013-07-01 09:21:00 PM
That's because you're confusing a Forest Service (federal) hotshot crew (Prescott IHC) with a city based crew (Granite Mountain IHC, city of Prescott). Capisce?
 
2013-07-01 09:44:20 PM

JesseL: http://prescottaz.com/main.asp?FromHome=1&TypeID=1&ArticleID=120777&S e ctionID=1&SubSectionID=1
Those who lost their lives are:

• Ashcraft, Andrew - Age: 29

• Caldwell, Robert - Age: 23

• Carter, Travis - Age: 31

• Deford, Dustin - Age: 24

• MacKenzie, Christopher - Age: 30

• Marsh, Eric - Age: 43

• McKee, Grant - Age: 21

• Misner, Sean - Age: 26

• Norris, Scott - Age: 28

• Parker, Wade - Age: 22

• Percin, John - Age: 24

• Rose, Anthony - Age: 23

• Steed, Jesse - Age: 36

• Thurston, Joe - Age: 32

• Turbyfill, Travis - Age: 27

• Warneke, William - Age: 25

• Whitted, Clayton - Age: 28

• Woyjeck, Kevin - Age: 21

• Zuppiger, Garret - Age: 27


This list is way too long.

:(
 
2013-07-02 12:39:46 AM
The investigation is going to reveal that fire ow ow ow.
 
2013-07-02 01:36:20 AM
Just stepped outside. Our Hualapai Mountain fire (Kingman area) is flaring. No winds tonight, so that's good.
 
2013-07-02 01:56:23 AM

JesseL: ecmoRandomNumbers: violentsalvation: Does anybody know if the names have been released?

The family of one of the firefighters, Chris McKenzie, voluntarily released info to the media.

Also Andrew Ashcroft:
[sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net image 500x670]


*sigh*

This is why I think as a "civilized society" we underpay taxes compared with other first-world countries in the sense of how well will we provide their families left behind: the lost wage-earner, support raising kids in a single-parent household, daycare, medical bills, education...
 
2013-07-02 02:34:35 AM

JesseL: Lars The Canadian Viking: JesseL: http://prescottaz.com/main.asp?FromHome=1&TypeID=1&ArticleID=120777&S e ctionID=1&SubSectionID=1
Those who lost their lives are:


Weird, none of them were on the list I got off the forestry service site.

They weren't the Prescott Hotshots (which is a national forest crew), they were the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, which is a municipal crew (the only municipal hotshot crew in the country I think). Both are based out of Prescott, but they are separate crews.


Correct. John Percin is from West Linn, Oregon.
 
2013-07-02 06:53:01 AM

Nadie_AZ: JesseL: http://prescottaz.com/main.asp?FromHome=1&TypeID=1&ArticleID=120777&S e ctionID=1&SubSectionID=1
Those who lost their lives are:

• Ashcraft, Andrew - Age: 29

• Caldwell, Robert - Age: 23

• Carter, Travis - Age: 31

• Deford, Dustin - Age: 24

• MacKenzie, Christopher - Age: 30

• Marsh, Eric - Age: 43

• McKee, Grant - Age: 21

• Misner, Sean - Age: 26

• Norris, Scott - Age: 28

• Parker, Wade - Age: 22

• Percin, John - Age: 24

• Rose, Anthony - Age: 23

• Steed, Jesse - Age: 36

• Thurston, Joe - Age: 32

• Turbyfill, Travis - Age: 27

• Warneke, William - Age: 25

• Whitted, Clayton - Age: 28

• Woyjeck, Kevin - Age: 21

• Zuppiger, Garret - Age: 27

This list is way too long.

:(


It's way too young too. 21, 21, 22, 23, 24... Why were kids that age even sent to dangerous fires? What is this crazy stuff?  Even the name, Hotshot Crew, seems to have been designed to attract kids that age.  Who doesn't want to be a hotshot at that age?

I respect the dead men and their intentions.  I have so much sympathy for their families. However, it's fairly obvious that they died in agony - burned alive, to be blunt. Perhaps they shouldn't have been sent there?  Saving houses is not that important.
 
2013-07-02 11:05:50 AM

ElizaDoolittle: It's way too young too. 21, 21, 22, 23, 24... Why were kids that age even sent to dangerous fires? What is this crazy stuff? Even the name, Hotshot Crew, seems to have been designed to attract kids that age. Who doesn't want to be a hotshot at that age?


It's the same reason front line soldiers are that age. They're some of the only ones who are physically capable of it, and maybe their own mortality just isn't too real for them yet.

ElizaDoolittle: I respect the dead men and their intentions. I have so much sympathy for their families. However, it's fairly obvious that they died in agony - burned alive, to be blunt. Perhaps they shouldn't have been sent there? Saving houses is not that important.


Getting killed in the line of duty is pretty unusual, even for hotshots. They don't go in expecting to die, and if they think conditions are too risky they'll obviously stay out.

When they started working the Yarnell Hill fire it seemed like a pretty minor thing. They had literally been working dozens of similar fires in just the past month (and they really were celebrated heroes in the community before they died). The sudden change of wind that trapped them and caused the fire to go from a few dozen acres to hundreds then thousands was something nobody foresaw. It's understood that there's always a risk, but it's unusual to lose the roll of the dice so badly.
 
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