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19 killed in Arizona wildfire - KOAM TV 7

19 killed in Arizona wildfire; local fire technician shows tents used to try to save lives

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The bodies of 19 fallen firefighters have been retrieved from a charred mountainside in Yarnell, Arizona.  Fire officials say the wind suddenly shifted, sending the flames toward the firefighters, who tried to shield themselves from the flames using small fire resistant tents.

Those tends are a special type for extreme emergencies, and some local firefighters us that same type of tent.

Federal rules say firefighters who want to put out wildfires must go through a refresher class each year of how to use these fire tents.

On Monday caught up with forestry technician Terry Cook with the Missouri Department of Conservation.  He showed us one of the tents, made of a special fire retardant material.

Wildland firefighters use their pick to remove as much brush, grass, and other fire fuel as possible then wrap themselves in the tent and lay down.

Firefighters are told to stay in the tents and breathe through air purifiers until they are told to get out by their crew boss.  Cook says it could be hours before they are given the ok to leave the tent.

Cook says it's hard to even imagine what trauma the firefighters in Arizona went through, even before their deaths as they heard the wildfire coming towards them.

Wildland firefighters typically go in groups of 20.  Only one of the group of 20 firefighters in Arizona survived.

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