Deadly U.S. tragedies involving involving fire crews
Associated Press July 1, 2013 2:08AM
A wildfire burns homes in Yarnell, Ariz. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. An Arizona fire chief says the wildfire that killed 19 members of his crew near the town was moving fast and fueled by hot, dry conditions. The fire started with a lightning strike on Friday and spread to 2,000 acres on Sunday amid triple-digit temperatures. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)
Here is a look at some of the deadliest U.S. tragedies to have claimed the lives of wildland firefighters, including the 19 killed in an Arizona blaze Sunday:
◆ June 30, 2013: Nineteen members of an elite crew are killed in a fire northwest of Phoenix that lit up the night sky in the forest above the town of Yarnell. The fast-moving blaze fueled by hot, dry conditions is the deadliest wildfire involving firefighters in the U.S. for at least 30 years.
◆ Aug. 5, 2008: Nine people were killed when a helicopter crashed shortly after taking off with a load of firefighters heading back to camp in Northern California. Seven of the dead were firefighters with Grayback Forestry Inc. The crew was fighting a forest fire on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest outside Redding, Calif.
◆ Aug. 24, 2003: Eight contract firefighters who had spent two weeks fighting an Idaho wildfire were killed on their way home when their van collided with a tractor-trailer and exploded into flames outside Vale, Ore. The firefighters, all men, worked for First Strike Environmental, a contract firefighting company and all were from Oregon.
◆ July 6, 1994: A blaze near Glenwood Springs, Colo., killed 14 firefighters who were overtaken by a sudden explosion of flames. The lightning-sparked Storm King Mountain blaze roared through shrubs as the firefighters scrambled uphill. Thirty-five firefighters on the mountain that day survived.
◆ July 9, 1953: The Rattlesnake fire in Southern California took the lives of 15 firefighters battling a blaze in Mendocino National Forest.
◆ Aug. 5, 1949: The Mann Gulch fire near Helena, Mont., killed 12 smokejumpers and a forest ranger after they were overrun by flames.