Flags at Half-Staff After Deaths of 19 Elite Firefighters in Arizona

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 Arizona lowered flags to half-staff on Monday July 1 as Turtle Island mourned the loss of 19 members of a 20-member elite firefighting force who perished late Sunday June 30 in a raging blaze near Yarnell, Arizona.

"We're devastated," Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo told reporters at a news conference.

“There’s no containment at all,” an official told the Associated Press of the fire, which had reached 2,000 acres by Sunday night after being sparked by lightning on June 28.

The members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots died about 35 miles southwest of Prescott, trapped on Yarnell Hill by a wall of flames between 15 and 20 feet high, the New York Daily News reported.

“This is as dark a day as I can remember, with Arizona suffering the truly unimaginable loss of 19 wildland firefighters,” Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said in a statement. “They were battling the Yarnell Fire, near Prescott, when the fast-moving blaze overtook their position.”

Brewer said this fire marked the greatest loss of first-responder life since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.


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