The Yarnell Hill wildfire currently burning in an area 85 miles north of Phoenix continues to rage on with minimal containment. So far, it has burned over 8,000 acres and has destroyed about 50 homes and is threatening about 250 others.
On our blog, we have frequently talked about wildfires and their impact on policyholders from a property insurance perspective. I am taking a different approach this week and just want to focus on the human element. In particular, I want to honor the bravery of the 19 firefighters who were killed on Sunday while battling the blaze. We can all agree that a firefighter’s job is dangerous and there is a tremendous sacrifice in order to protect property and life. Many of us grew up appreciating firefighters as heroes and some of us even wanted to be a firefighter.
The firefighters who perished in the Yarnell Hill fire are members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite and highly trained group who battle wildfires on the front line. These firefighters and other “hotshots” like them walk miles (often carrying gear upwards of 60 lbs) to get very close to the fire. They dig fire lines and cut the brush to slow down the fire and help with containment.
Although we may not know the 19 firefighters who perished personally, in our own way can give them a tribute for their courage. The following are their names and they are pictured below.
|Andrew Ashcraft, 29||Kevin Woyjeck, 21||Anthony Rose, 23|
|Eric Marsh, 43||Christopher MacKenzie, 30||Robert Caldwell, 23|
|Clayton Whitted, 28||Scott Norris, 28||Dustin Deford, 24|
|Sean Misner, 26||Garret Zuppiger, 27||Travis Carter, 31|
|Grant McKee, 21||Travis Turbyfill, 27||Jesse Steed, 36|
|Wade Parker, 22||Joe Thurston, 32|
|John Percin, 24||William Warneke, 25|