Arizona Wildfires

Jul 1, 2013 4:59 PM by NBC News

Chief: Yarnell Hill worst tragedy in Arizona's wildland history

NBC NEWS - Nineteen members of an elite hot-shot wildfire crew died Sunday when a wall of flames from an Arizona wildfire trapped the firefighters leaving them no time to flee.

"Firefighters were killed in what is probably the worst disaster that's taken place in wildland history here in the state of Arizona," said Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo.

The fast moving blaze was triggered by a lightning strike on Friday and has been fueled by record heat and gusty winds.

Fire officials say the granite mountain hotshots relied on their training, deployed their fire shelters, a tent like structure is design to protect them from fires and heat. But the blaze was so intense, the team never had a chance.

The bodies of the fallen were removed from the mountainside Monday morning.

"It is unbearable for you, but it is also unbearable for me," Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said.

400 firefighters from around the region are on scene to fight the Yarnell Hill fire.

It has consumed over 9000 acres and destroyed 200 homes.

Hundreds are evacuated and many will have nothing to return to.

The fire is still moving with no containment in site.

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