19 firefighters die in Arizona wildfire *

granite-mountain-hotshots.jpgJust awful news out of the Prescott area in central Arizona. Nineteen firefighters who were battling a fire near Yarnell in Yavapai County were overrun by flames and deployed their shelters. They were later found dead in and around the shelters. Eighteen of the dead in Arizona were from the Prescott Fire Department's elite Granite Mountain Hotshots team. The team's website characterized the members earlier:

Granite 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 crewmembers. We are grateful for our opportunities to excel and proud to represent the citizens of the City of Prescott and the Prescott Fire Department.

It's the worst day for firefighters battling wildfires since 29 men on county relief died while fighting a fire in Los Angeles' Griffith Park in 1933., Associated Press

Update: Posted to Facebook by the Navajo Nation Police Department, with this message: "Condolences to our fire fighter brothers and sisters families."


* 1:30 a.m. update: A photo editor at the Arizona Republic tweeted a first look at the paper's special front page, still in progress:


Here's how it finally looked in print:


Photo of Granite Mountain Hotshots: City of Prescott, Az.

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