ARIZONA NEWS

Flags to fly half-staff on 9th anniversary of Granite Mountain Hotshots’ deaths

Jun 29, 2022, 10:51 AM

FILE - In this Sunday, June 30, 2013 file photo made by firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, members of the...

FILE - In this Sunday, June 30, 2013 file photo made by firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots watch a growing wildfire that later swept over and killed the crew of 19 firefighters near Yarnell, Ariz. Ashcraft texted the photo to his wife, Juliann, but died later that day battling the out-of-control blaze. One year after the 19 Arizona firefighters were killed in the worst loss of life among wildland firefighters in 80 years, few changes have been implemented among the state's fire crews. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Juliann Ashcraft, File)

(AP Photo/Courtesy of Juliann Ashcraft, File)

PHOENIX – Flags on Arizona state buildings will be lowered to half-staff Thursday, the ninth anniversary of the deaths of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill Fire.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots were battling the wildland blaze in Yavapai County north of Phoenix on June 30, 2013, when they were overwhelmed by flames. The fire had begun two days earlier, sparked by dry lightning strikes.

It was the deadliest wildfire for firefighters in the United States since the 1933 Griffith Park Fire in Los Angeles left 29 dead.

“Their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a press release Wednesday.

“The heroic Yarnell 19 knew the dangers of the job, and yet still put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of others and abide by their duty and commitment to our state. This week we remember them, and send our thoughts and prayers to their families and loved ones who cared about them deeply.”

The flags will remain lowered from sunrise to sunset.

In 2016, Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park was dedicated in the area of the fire.

Two years later, the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning and Tribute Center opened at the Prescott Gateway Mall.

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Flags to fly half-staff on 9th anniversary of Granite Mountain Hotshots’ deaths