Monday, July 1, 2013
UPDATE — AP: The son of a Los Angeles County fire captain was one of 18 members of an elite crew of firefighters killed in an Arizona forest fire.
LA County fire Inspector Tony Akins says 21-year-old Kevin Woyjeck died Sunday while fighting an out-of-control blaze that destroyed dozens of homes northwest of Phoenix.
He is the son of Capt. Joe Woyjeck, a veteran of the LA County Fire Department.
The fire killed nearly all of 20-member "hotshot" crew based in Prescott, Ariz.
The team entered the smoky wilderness over the weekend with backpacks, chain saws and other heavy gear used to remove brush and trees.
It was the deadliest single day for U.S. firefighters since Sept. 11.
Nineteen firefighters were killed in a central Arizona wildfire Sunday. The fire had burned 1,000 acres and 200 firefighters were working the blaze as of late Sunday night.
Forestry officials say the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew were working the fire line late Sunday afternoon when they were forced to deploy their fire shelters.
An unconfirmed number of homes in the community of Glenisle have burned according to Forestry officials. No injuries or deaths have been reported in that area.
"There are several fires burning on the mountain. When I look out the window I can see several different locations where you can see flames," said Steve Skurja, a spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
The Yarnell Hill Fire, as it’s being called, was sparked by lightning Friday and is burning 85 miles northwest of Phoenix. Yarnell and Peeples Valley have been evacuated.