Nineteen highly skilled and professional firefighters have been killed on Sunday afternoon, June 30 while battling an out-of-control blaze outside the Yarnell Hill fire, about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix, as flames destroyed an estimated 200 homes and forced the evacuation of two towns Peeples Valley and Yarnell, authorities said, reports Associated Press.
The 19 firefighters, who were killed in one of deadliest wildfire for firefighters in the United States since 1933 according to National Fire Protection Association records, were member of The Granite Mountain Hot Shots of Prescott, Arizona- consists of 20-member- working as shock troops at region's worst fires. The identities of the victims are still unreleased.
"They're usually (a) 20-person crew, and they're the ones who actually go in and dig the fire line, cut the brush to make a fuel break. And so they would be as close to the fire as they felt they safely could." state forestry spokesman Art Morrison said.
The Hot shot crew, who recently had fought wildfires in New Mexico, were found died inside fire shelters and outside them as they were deployed nineteen emergency fire shelters in hope of protecting themselves from the fire according to Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman.
U.S President, who is traviling Arica from June 27 to July 2 described the firefighters victims as "heroes" in a statement saying : "They were ... highly-skilled professionals who, like so many across our country do every day, selflessly put themselves in harm's way to protect the lives and property of fellow citizens they would never meet,"
A Facebook page which was created to pay tribute to the dead firefighters called "In Memory of Granite Mountain Hotshots crew from Prescott, AZ Lost" and has now generated more than 170,000 likes in just 11 hours, have published a photo of the crew took in Oregon (See it above)