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"We lost more firefighters that day second to only 9/11"

Golder Ranch Fire District remembers Yarnell 19
Posted at 7:45 PM, Jun 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 01:37:24-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Six years after 19 firefighters died in the Yarnell Hill fire, the Golder Ranch Fire District still remembers that day clearly.

June 30, 2013, the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew was battling the fire when a wind shift sent flames racing toward them, trapping them.

"We lost more firefighters that day second to only 9/11," Fire Chief Randy Karrer said. "This is a very, very difficult professional and it's one that can change in a moments notice, so preparation is everything."

There is a lot that goes into preparing for a fire, especially a wild land fire.

"Wild land fire fighting is very different. It's not as predictable as many people think it is or as easy to manage," Karrer said.

Wild land fires depend on a lot of factors like fuel, so what is burning, weather, if it's dry, hot or windy, and topography, meaning the way the land is structured.

According the Karrer, 90% of wild land fires are human made, so especially with the dry, hot air this summer, it's important to remember to practice safe fire.

For the Golder Ranch Firefighters, the Yarnell 19 is a reminder of the dangers that can come out the job they do everyday.

"I think that it's important that we learn from the past," Karrer said. "I think that it's important that we respect the past, but most importantly, I think that it's important that we look to the future to prevent these types of events from happen again."