PHOENIX — Firefighters across the country will observe a moment of silence Wednesday in memory of the 19 colleagues who died in Arizona earlier this week.
The Granite Mountain Hotshot team was nearly wiped out Sunday fighting the Yarnell Fire near Prescott. Only Brendan McDonough, 21, remains.
“Every firefighter across in the county working on wildfires today, at some point during the operational period today, will have a pause,” said Jim Whittington, spokesman for the Southwest Incident Command Team.
The moment of silence will be observed by more than 500 firefighters on-site at Yarnell Hill, where the blaze is contained at 8 percent. About 8,400 acres and 200 structures have burned since a lightning strike set off the fire June 28.
“One of the things that defines the entire wildland firefighting community is
we don’t forget,” Whittington said, adding that crews pay tribute every year to those
who have died in some of the nation’s worst firefighting disasters.
“We will remember this one,” he said of the worst wildland fire tragedy in America since 1933.
The elite crew died when it was unable to escape flames that had abruptly changed direction in gusting winds.
For volunteer, fundraising and other ways to assist those affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire, go to yarnellfallenfirefighters.com.
Associated Press contributed to this article.