Yarnell, AZ — The deadly Yarnell Hill Fire that took the lives of 19 firefighters this week is now 45 percent contained. The fire broke out on Friday, but intensified on Sunday.
As many as 600 firefighters have worked to stop the fire from spreading further. The Arizona State Forestry Division announced on Wednesday that they were making progress with 45 percent containment.
Containment on Tuesday evening was just eight percent. The blaze has been driven mainly by dry conditions, gusty winds, and high temperatures.
Along with scorching more than 8,400 acres, the Yarnell Hill Fire also took the lives of 19 firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots — an elite wildfire crew who was considered among the best of the best in firefighting.
Members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a crew of 20 men out of Prescott, Arizona, underwent extensive training for the job, which put them on the front lines of extremely volatile wildfires. According to their website, the group faced “extreme environmental conditions” on a regular basis.
As the Yarnell Hill Fire came under 45 percent containment, an investigation was launched into the deaths of the Prescott 19, as they are now called. Investigators will pour through information that includes weather conditions, far department’s radio logs and records, and will also speak with the team’s sole surviving member, Brendan McDonough.
A statement from Incident Command for the Yarnell Hill Fire added that they expect full containment by Friday, July 12. Meanwhile, officials also announced that funerals for the fallen hotshot crew will take place on Suesday, July 9, from 11 am until 1 pm. As in life, the 19 firefighters will receive their final goodbyes together.
Along with the 19 firefighters, the Yarnell Hill Fire also destroyed 129 homes and other structures as of Wednesday. Two of those buildings were in Peeples Valley, while the remaining 127 were in Yarnell. Residents who evacuated as the fire spread have been asked to call (928) 777-7481 to find out if their home was one of those destroyed by the fast-moving wildfire.