Last year at this time, we heard the devastating news that 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots perished in the Yarnell wildfire. In the next few days I will be sharing several posts from that time last year, starting with this one today.
I was going to post an update this morning about the Doce fire which I told you about a couple of weeks ago and has since been contained. But I woke up today to some devastating news that I feel the need to share with you.
Yesterday another wildfire burned about 50 miles from where I live, in a little town called Yarnell. According to those on the scene, the fire turned deadly from lightning strikes during a monsoon storm.
As is common during these storms, the wind activity became wild—thus the term wildfire. I witness these kinds of monsoon winds many times during the summer and it never fails to fill me with foreboding. Often during these monsoon storms, we don’t get the rain itself, only the high winds and menacingly dark, cloudy skies.
That is what happened in Yarnell yesterday. Tons of wild wind mixed in with lightning strikes but with no rain to help temper the effects of those strikes made for a wildfire that spread too rapidly.
As a result, 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots—part of the Prescott Fire Department—lost their lives while battling that blaze. Prescott is certainly in deep mourning over this tragedy, and many of us are praying for the families left behind.
As the mother of a firefighter, I have always worked to keep a certain mental and emotional distance from thinking too much about how dangerous fire fighting is. However, the deaths of those 19 at the Yarnell fire has really impacted me and brought me to tears. I am very thankful that Alan has never been severely injured or lost his life while fighting a fire but I also know that there have been some very close calls.
I choose daily not to think about or dwell on that.
In honor of my son, Alan (pictured above), and all the firefighters I know—or have never even met—if I don’t say it enough, here it is again:
THANK YOU for all you do in the line of duty to keep us safe. You are all examples of the most courageous people I can imagine, people who willingly put themselves in harm’s way to keep the rest of us safe from the devastating effects of fires.
To read more about the Yarnell fire: