YARNELL, Ariz. – Named one of the deadliest fires in American firefighting, the Yarnell Hill tragedy claimed the lives of 19 firefighters on June 30, 2013.
News 11 got a personal account of each of those men’s lives that were lost, when we sat down with Fernanda Santos, the author of ‘The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and One Of The Deadliest Days In American Firefighting’.
Santos said, “This was the greatest loss wild land firefighting since the ’30s.”
Santos said, “They were not just firefighters, they were people, who loved to hike, kayak, run, who loved the outdoors, who loved their children and their families.”
Santos opened up about manhood, brotherhood and family love.
In “The Fire Line” Santos showcases who these brave men really were. Funny, hard working and loyal to each other and how they overcame personal struggles and as a band of brothers linked arms to fight one of the most dangerous fires in the world.
Santos said, “At a time of great pressure that was coming their way they had no other interest in mind then to go home safe.”
The Yarnell Hill fire lasted for more than 10 days, burned over 8,400 acres, destroyed 129 buildings and claimed the lives of 19 heroes.
Santos said, “On the day they made a decision that claimed their lives.”
A lot of people wonder who’s decision was it to send the men into the canyon.
Santos said, “People do this kind of job, people in the military, they’re faced with difficult, risky decisions. They use the best information they have to make a decision that they feel will guarantee their safety.”
Santos trained in the safety fire academy the hot shots trained.
Santos said, “I sought to tell the story that honored them as firefighters but also as members of the community.”