Governor calls loss of 19 firefighters in state’s deadliest blaze ‘unbearable’
They were part of an elite squad confronting wildfires on the front line, setting up barriers to stop the spreading destruction. But in their unpredictable world, it doesn’t take much to turn a situation deadly.
In this case, a wind shift and other factors caused a central Arizona fire, which now spans almost 9,000 acres, to become erratic, said Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman.
The inferno proved too much, even for the shelters the 19 firefighters carried as a last-ditch survival tool.
“The fuels were very dry, the relative humidity was low, the wind was coming out of the south. It turned around on us because of monsoon action,” Reichling told CNN affiliate KNXV. “That’s what caused the deaths.

The firefighters were killed Sunday while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire, northwest of Phoenix. Among the dead was Eric Marsh, superintendent of the Granite Moutian Hotshots, according to his father, John Marsh.
Gov. Jan Brewer called the loss “unbearable” during a Monday news conference and said she understood the pain people are dealing with.
“For now, we mourn,” she said.
The wildfire, which is considered the deadliest in state history, is not contained at all, according to Brewer’s office and other authorities. About 400 ground personnel and 100 incident-management staff are working to control it.
There are no other reported injuries from the blaze, Reichling said.
“As we face the day the highest priority is for the fallen comrades,” said Roy Hall, an incident commander with the state forestry division. “We got a lot of hotshot crews in the nation, and they are the elite of the ground firefighters. They’re highly trained and highly specialized. They are a younger generation. That’s the […]