Of the 20 members of this group, 19 lost their lives when the fire took an ugly turn. The details have yet to be released but these highly trained firefighters were supplied with live saving equipment that just wasn't enough.
For those who do not know, a hotshot crew is the group that goes straight to the head of the line, where they dig trenches, take down brush and trees, and clear away the fuel that will feed the fire. At best, this is a crazy scary position to have. Here's the info on their web site -
The Prescott Fire Department is proud to host the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew. From our beginning as a fuels mitigation crew in 2002, through the formation of Crew 7 (Type 2 I/A) in 2004, and our transition into the elite Hotshot community in 2008, our goal has been to provide our customers with "Excellence in Service" through our superior physical conditioning, our commitment to training, innovative problem solving, and our history of safe and aggressive fire suppression.
About the CrewGranite Mountain IHC consists of dedicated people of varying age and diverse backgrounds. Our common bond is our love of hard work and arduous adventure. We believe in rigorous physical and mental training, which allows us to perform at the optimum level in any location and under any circumstances. We are routinely exposed to extreme environmental conditions, long work hours, long travel hours and the most demanding of fireline tasks. Comforts such as beds, showers and hot meals are not always common. Problem solving, teamwork, ability to make decisions in a stressful environment and being nice are the attributes of our crew members. We are grateful for our opportunities to excel and proud to represent the citizens of the City of Prescott and the Prescott Fire Department.
Granite Mountain Hotshots continues to provide defensible space on private parcels, as well as City owned open space. We also use prescribed fire to treat fuels on both City property and National Forest land.
A couple of facts -
Yarnell is a quaint little town to the South and West of Prescott Arizona ( ). The town consist of about 700 residents, so you can see that this is a very small community. As of this morning, they say that there is an unconfirmed report that over 200 homes have been lost.
The Yarnell Hill Fire was lightning caused.
Prescott Arizona is the only town to have their own Hotshot Crew.
The lose of these firefighters is the greatest lose of First Responders since 911.
The average of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew was 28 years old. (damn - these are kids!)
Tho there isn't a soul out there that can ease the pain of the family, friends and co-workers of these lost men, there is some comfort in knowing that the 100 Club of Arizona is already there to assist them. Please click here to go to their site and help if you can. It is an amazing organization.
It's a little soon to do much but find a way to handle the shock of this lose, but I am hoping to hear that Geocachers, as a group, can find a way to show our appreciation to all the fire fighters who risk their lives to save our forest in Arizona.
Update to come soon