From the Presidential Prayer Team:
Worst National Firefighting Disaster Since 9/11 as 19 Hotshots Killed by Arizona Wildfire
Nineteen firefighters, including 18 from the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots of Prescott, died Sunday fighting an out-of-control wildfire in Yarnell, a tiny Yavapai County town roughly 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.
“We are devastated. We just lost 19 of the finest people you will ever meet,” Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said Sunday night. “We’re going through a terrible crisis right now.” An Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman said the 19 firefighters were found in an area that also had 19 fire shelters deployed. Some of the firefighters were inside their shelters, which are typically used as a last resort to withstand the fire if it overtakes them. Some of the crew members were found outside the shelters. One member of the team who served as a lookout is hospitalized at the Maricopa County Burn Unit with burns over 70 percent of his body.
The community of Yarnell was ordered evacuated, and already 250 structures have been destroyed. The wildfire had grown to more than 8,000 acres by Monday morning and was zero percent contained.
The incident reports the greatest loss of life among active firefighting crews since September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center collapse. It is the worst firefighting tragedy ever in Arizona, and the worst wild-land firefighting tragedy in U.S. history since 25 were killed in the Griffith Park Fire in Los Angeles in 1933.
(Sources: The Arizona Republic, BBC News, ABC News, NPR)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
- For the grieving families of the firefighters whose lives were lost.
- For the hotshot team lookout hospitalized and being treated for burns.
- For all who have lost property and suffered other injuries as a result of this and the numerous other wildfires ravaging the heat-scorched southwest.