Nineteen people perish in worst wildland firefighting loss since the ’30s

We are regulars at the Nevada City Fire Department pancake breakfast and spaghetti dinner fundraisers, as well as ones at the Meeks Bay Fire Protection District on Tahoe’s West Shore. We want to show our support whenever we can. Most important, we are big advocates of defensible space, because we know it could save a firefighter’s life, not just protect our home. Just last week, I was telling our son about the local “49’er” fire as we were driving around that area of the county. We remain aware of the risks of wildland fires and firefighting, because this is what can happen. God bless the families of these people:

“Nineteen firefighters with the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew — an elite wildland firefighting unit sponsored by the Prescott Fire Department and its chief, Fraijo — died near Yarnell, Ariz., on Sunday in the worst wildland firefighting loss in the U.S. since 1933,” as the L.A. Times is reporting.

“‘Emotionally? We’re devastated,’ Fraijo said at a news conference late Sunday. ‘We just lost 19 of some of the finest people you’re ever going to meet. Right now we’re in crisis. … Truly, we’re going through a terrible crisis right now.’

“The men went missing as the evacuated town of Yarnell was ravaged by the blaze, fanned by winds sometimes exceeding 40 mph and temperatures approaching 100 degrees. One official estimated that 200 structures had been lost.”

The rest of the article is here.

“‘This is as dark a day as I can remember,’ Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement. ‘It may be days or longer before an investigation reveals how this tragedy occurred, but the essence we already know in our hearts: Fighting fires is dangerous work.'”

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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5 Responses to Nineteen people perish in worst wildland firefighting loss since the ’30s

  1. steve cottrell says:

    Lyrics available online. (Cold Missouri Waters)

  2. Greg Zaller says:

    I am very concerned that this county is at excessive risk of of having a devastating fire. I was a fireman during the 49er fire some time ago and I can tell you it was chaos. At one point there was a concern that Nevada City would be destroyed.

    Every time I hear about what a beautiful area we live in I think that people need to wake up and realize how serious the risk is for having it burn down because of risks that can be mitigated.

    I am particularly concerned about the danger that homeless camps present and how the current the strategy of closing local camps is driving them deeper into the forests where there is a greater fire danger.

    Our government leaders need to step up the plate and open a legal campground and direct illegal campers to go there instead of simply closing local illegal camps.

    • Ben Emery says:

      You make a very good point about the homeless getting pushed further into the forests. I say bring everybody into the community and work together on the issue of homelessness instead. Being tough on the down trodden seems to be right up their with being tough on dope/ weed. Actually Chief Foster in Grass Valley has been a pretty good partner/ advocate for the homeless in the area. There are many good people working on the issue at the local level it is very inspiring. The problem lies at the state and federal levels with their pro business anti people policies in my opinion.

      All of us need the best in each other.
      And if we can find it,
      And if we can give it,
      The rest will soon follow.
      If we all stick together,
      We’ll get what we need.

      Utah Phillips

      • Greg Zaller says:

        We just opened two more houses (three total) where we provide screened homeless folks with a sane, sober and supportive environment along with the means to pay for it. They dohave to work, so it isn’t for those addicted to handouts, drugs and “poor me” stories.

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