Firefighting, Wildland Firefighting

Tragic Year for Wildland Firefighters Ends in Reflection

Thirty-four wildland firefighters died in the line of duty this year. Some of those fatalities were isolated incidents, but one event captured the nation’s attention, sparking a larger conversation about the new dangers firefighters face, reports NPR.

That event unfolded in central Arizona on Sunday afternoon, June 30.

“I’m here with Granite Mountain Hot Shots, our escape route has been cut off,” says a crew boss on recently released radio traffic from the Yarnell Hill Fire. “We are preparing a deployment site, and I’ll give you a call when we are under the shelters.

That call from the crew boss never came. He and 18 other members of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots didn’t survive inside their emergency shelters when the fire blew over them.

“Our entire crew was lost,” Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo told the press at the time. “We lost 19 people in this wildfire, one of the worst wildfire disasters that’s ever taken place.”

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