19 Firefighters Killed As Arizona Wildfire Burns Out Of Control

19 Firefighters Killed As Arizona Wildfire Burns Out Of Control

Posted: Updated:
YARNELL, Ariz. -

Nineteen firefighters have been killed battling a massive wildfire in the town of Yarnell in Arizona.

That's about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

The 2,000-acre fire is spreading out of control in triple-digit temperatures and is hard to contain.

The fire has claimed an elite crew, known as the "hotshots," in what is now the deadliest wildfire involving firefighters in the U.S. In 30 years.

"Typical of a fire like this we send many, many crews from all over the state," said Fire Chief Dan Fraijo, of Prescott, Ariz. "The Wildland Crew from the city of Prescott, Ariz., was deployed to that, and as a result of circumstances that I am not aware of or have not been informed of yet, our entire crew was lost. We lost 19 people here in this wildfire. It's one of the worst wildfire disasters that has ever taken place."

The firefighters were forced to deploy their emergency fire shields, meant to protect them from the heat and flames.

Officials say the fire started Friday and was likely caused by a lightning strike.

Two hundred homes have been destroyed, and dozens more have been evacuated.

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