The crews battling the Bighorn Fire near Tucson will pause their efforts briefly on Tuesday, June 30, to commemorate 19 wildland firefighters who were killed during a fire seven years ago.
The crews will observe a moment of silence at 4:42 p.m., marking the time of day the Granite Mountain Hotshots died while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire, northwest of Phoenix.
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the state’s flags flown at half-staff in honor of those who lost their lives on this day in 2013.
The hotshots were overcome after a change in wind direction pushed the flames back toward their position.
Ducey called it one of the most tragic days in state history.
“The brave Yarnell 19 had their whole lives ahead of them,” Ducey said. “They had families, loved ones and friends who cared deeply about them.
KOLD-TV CBS 13 Tucson
This is the “Wildland Firefighter Week of Remembrance”.
On this date, June 30, in 2013, 19 granite mountain firefighters were lost in the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. 34 wildland firefighters were killed in the line of duty that fire season.
On July 6 in 1994, 14 firefighters died on Storm King Mountain in Colorado. 35 wildland firefighters died that year. The main focus for this week of remembrance is so that future wildland firefighters learn from those who served before them. This week is intended as an opportunity to renew the commitment to the health, wellness, and safety of wildland firefighters.
KNBN-TV NBC 1 Rapid City
Fire chiefs in the Big Country said they've been busy this month battling wildfires.
"Usually it starts in July, but this year it started in June and it's been very hectic," said Eula Fire Chief Charlie Dawson.
Dawson, with the Eula Volunteer Fire Department, said a wildfire in Callahan County on the 18th damaged four of his trucks, which were in service the next day. "In this situation, it was dark and heavy smoke and couldn't see what you were hitting, running over fences, trees, boulders and just fighting the terrain," said Dawson.
The same fire damaged a brush truck with the Clyde Volunteer Fire Department, which is still out of service.
KTXS-TV ABC 12 Abilene
It was eight years ago, on this date, that four North Carolina Air National Guard airmen were killed when their C-130 crashed near Edgemont.
The C-130, equipped with an airborne firefighting system, was on a retardant run over the White Draw Fire when a microburst caused it to crash.
Killed were the pilots, Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal and Maj. Joseph M. McCormick; navigator, Maj. Ryan S. David; and flight engineer, SMSgt. Robert S. Cannon. Two other airmen were injured.
The Air Force report on the crash stated a thunderstorm created the microburst of turbulent air that caused the air tanker to crash. During a previous retardant drop, the C-130 lost airspeed despite being at full power. Before the second drop, the crew discussed this issue but decided they could adjust; however, the plane crashed soon after.
KOTA-TV ABC 3 Rapid City
The very wet late June storm system that has dropped several inches of rain on the valleys and mountains of west-central and southwest Montana over the last two days will have an impact on the summer fire season.
Up until Sunday, much of the area had received only about 25% of the monthly average for precipitation, and forest fuels -- those sticks, logs, and other debris in the forest -- were drying up fast. But two days of steady rainfall -- along with areas of high elevation snow -- have given the area a two-week reset, meaning the earliest wildland fires might be an issue won’t be until late July.
In addition, the next two weeks bring very little chance of hot temperatures to the region. The end result for the Northern Rockies Coordination Center is an adjustment in the forecast for July, but no change for later this summer.
KPAX-TV CBS/CW+ 8 Missoula