Firefighting, Wildland Firefighting

VIDEO: Winds Shifted Moments Before WA Wildfire FFs Killed



Twisp (WA) (AP) — Within the span of 12 minutes, a wildfire in Washington state went from being just one of many lightning-sparked blazes burning across the Pacific Northwest to the scene of the deadliest single wildfire this year in the U.S.

Three firefighters were killed on August 19 near the mountain town of Twisp. Before they could escape, they were overrun by flames.

Andrew Zajac, Richard Wheeler, and Tom Zbyszewski were the first team to tackle the fire near Twisp River Road.

Dispatch records from the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office obtained by the Associated Press through a public records request detail the chaos of the fire and coordinated response to the blaze.

While the documents don’t say why the crash occurred or what attempts were made to save the crew members, they illustrate a common problem: How to stay safe in unpredictable shifting winds while doing a job that is high-risk.

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