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Sole survivor of Yarnell Hill Fire speaks out ahead of 3-year anniversary

Brendan McDonough recites The Hot Shot's Prayer during the "Our Fallen Brothers" memorial service for the 19 fallen firefighters at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Ariz. on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Prescott's Granite Mountain Hotshots were overrun by smoke and fire while battling a blaze on a ridge in Yarnell, about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix on June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Chow, Pool)
LISTEN: Brendan McDonough - Sole survivor of the Yarnell Hill Fire

PHOENIX — The sole survivor of the Yarnell Hill Fire has spoken out about how he is dealing with the tragedy nearly three years later in his new book, “My Lost Brothers.”

Brendan McDonough was the only firefighter to survive the fire that spread and killed 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 28, 2013.

McDonough was more than a mile away from his crew when they were overtaken by the wildfire.

The wildfire was the deadliest in Arizona and was the 6th-deadliest in the nation. It took the state, especially residents in the tiny town of Prescott, by storm.

McDonough, who said in an interview with KTAR News’ Mac & Gaydos that living in the town was a constant reminder of that day, began dealing with the tragedy by seeking counseling.

“Going through counseling has been the most helpful thing I’ve done, and it’s continued to help me progress and help me learn to live with the trauma I’ve gone through and learn to live through it,” he said.

Around the same time, McDonough said he began writing the book as an outlet to deal with his emotions and turn away from negative outlets such as alcohol.

As the “lone survivor,” McDonough said he is living with the survivor’s guilt and worked to share the story of his fellow firefighters through his new book.

McDonough is not alone in sharing his story of that tragic day: Fernanda Santos recently released her novel, “The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and One of the Deadliest Days in American Firefighting.”

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