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Author Topic: 19 Firefighters Killed in AZ Wildfire  (Read 482 times)
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ATB
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« on: July 01, 2013, 12:25:01 PM »

This is just shocking to me. 

19 in one fire.  The whole crew. I just don't understand how this could happen.

Just awful.
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Bullwinkle
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 01:58:59 PM »

These guys were the elite team, too.

It's just awful.
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 03:26:44 PM »

Kind of reminded me of the Mann Gulch fire. Tragic.
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 03:37:34 PM »

actually, 1 survived out of the team of 20.  I could only imagine the survivors guilt this person must be going through right now. 
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 04:15:14 PM »

Quote from: Caine on July 01, 2013, 03:37:34 PM

actually, 1 survived out of the team of 20.  I could only imagine the survivors guilt this person must be going through right now.  

I thought that same thing.  Poor guy.
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2013, 04:30:44 PM »

Quote from: Caine on July 01, 2013, 03:37:34 PM

actually, 1 survived out of the team of 20.  I could only imagine the survivors guilt this person must be going through right now. 

Article I read, said he wasn't with them at the time...
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2013, 06:42:54 PM »

Quote from: ATB on July 01, 2013, 04:30:44 PM

Quote from: Caine on July 01, 2013, 03:37:34 PM

actually, 1 survived out of the team of 20.  I could only imagine the survivors guilt this person must be going through right now. 

Article I read, said he wasn't with them at the time...

Doesn't mean he won't feel that guilt.  Possibly he'll feel it more.
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2013, 07:12:16 PM »

Most of the time deaths with wildfires involve a sudden shift in the direction of the fire.  just an fyi
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ATB
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2013, 08:50:09 PM »

Quote from: Harkonis on July 01, 2013, 07:12:16 PM

Most of the time deaths with wildfires involve a sudden shift in the direction of the fire.  just an fyi

Yeah...but I'm shocked that it was so overwhelming that it got all 19.
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2013, 03:56:09 AM »

Must have been quite a fire. Shame all those poor people died.
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2013, 04:04:00 AM »

I worked a couple summers as a firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management near Safford/Thatcher right after high school.  We mostly just got called for brush fires and stuff closer to town that was still on Federal land, including Mount Graham.  My most memorable experience was talking with the smoke jumpers, the guys who would rappel in behind the fire lines and fight them from "behind" as it were.  These guys were similarly equipped; lots of weight in equipment.  The area of the Yarnell Hill fire is a lot of dead low-lying brush and dry trees; combinations of mesquite and juniper, mostly.  Because that area is so rugged and the dead brush and grass has been gathering for years, it can cause weird effects where the fire can change direction and surround people SO fast.  The smoke jumpers used to talk about how a fire jumps from tree to tree in the pine forest...these close-to-ground fires sprint faster than any person alive.  I've heard it described in high winds as looking like someone poured gasoline over everything.  My heart goes out to the families and friends; it takes an amazingly special kind of person to do that job by choice.
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2013, 02:45:41 PM »

I worked as an auxiliary forest firefighter when I was in college for a few years.  It was organized through my school.  We were called up when the full time US Forestry teams needed help.  It was not what most of us thought it would be.  We were armed with rakes and other landscaping tools that were used to cut away vegetation (fuel) and create fire lines that hopefully the fire wouldn't jump across.  The more advanced teams had torches that looked like small flamethrowers to burn away vegetation (controlled fires) in advance of the larger fire. 

When we received our training, we practiced deploying the "baked potatoes" as fast as we could.  Even with the emphasis on those drills, the veteran forestry guys told us we were most likely fu**ed if we got cutoff and had to use the shelters.  Those fires are so GD hot and toxic I don't know how anyone could survive anything but a very fast moving fire in a shelter without portable oxygen.

When I heard that they found 19 shelters deployed, and some were inside, my heart sank.  They did everything they were trained to do, but it was too much.  We had it easy in the Mid-Atlantic forests, where the natural fuel isn't nearly as combustible as the vegetation in AZ. 
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2013, 08:24:56 PM »

More info on the shelters and training.
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ATB
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« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2013, 01:56:00 AM »

$20.00 shirt. 100% of proceeds go to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
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« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2013, 02:32:17 AM »

I really hate what network news has become. Thank goodness I heard the news from this thread first, because the TV news teaser was an insultingly perky "What happened to 19 firefighters? Find out at 11:00!"
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2013, 06:01:23 AM »

That's horrible.  By next year, they'll be pushing bumpers that say, "What's black and white and red all over? Film at 11!"
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« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2013, 01:09:36 PM »

Quote from: ATB on July 01, 2013, 04:30:44 PM

Quote from: Caine on July 01, 2013, 03:37:34 PM

actually, 1 survived out of the team of 20.  I could only imagine the survivors guilt this person must be going through right now.  

Article I read, said he wasn't with them at the time...

According to reports this morning(heard it on the radio while heading to work), the 20th man was the spotter - he reported to the team that the wind/fire was shifting, and did exactly as he was supposed to do, and got the hell out of there. They reacted, but it wasn't enough to save them. Apparently the message that the AZ firefighting administration is trying to get out to the media is "Leave him the F*** alone - he didn't do anything wrong."

A tragedy by all counts - I feel for the families, and for the guy who lost 19 comrades on his watch. Sad day indeed. frown

I'm not sure about US news sources, but CBC has a writeup of all 19 deceased.

The deployed fire shelters aren't used here in Canada (last used in 2005) - but it may have nothing to do with the shelters - the terrain and dense forests prevent them from being useful in these situations.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 01:21:20 PM by Purge » Logged

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ATB
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« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2013, 01:42:59 PM »

I must be reading the wrong reports.  Are people going after the spotter?

Edit: found an article with a vid. The widow of one of those killed said "we're glad one made it. Having one more go would have made it even worse."

She kicks ass.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 01:46:57 PM by ATB » Logged
Isgrimnur
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« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2013, 07:31:09 PM »

Number 20.
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