The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

July 1, 2013

19 Arizona firefighters killed in wildfire

(Continued)

The Prescott-based crew last year had four rookies on its 22-member squad, according to a Cronkite News Service report that profiled the group (http://bit.ly/Id3Ca8).

State forestry spokesman Art Morrison told the AP that the firefighters were forced to deploy their emergency fire shelters — tent-like structures meant to shield firefighters from flames and heat — when they were caught in the fire.

The Cronkite News Service had featured the group in its story practicing such deployment in a worst-case scenario drill.

"One of the last fail safe methods that a firefighter can do under those conditions is literally to dig as much as they can down and cover themselves with a protective — kinda looks like a foil type — fire-resistant material — with the desire, the hope at least, is that the fire will burn over the top of them and they can survive it," Fraijo said Sunday.

"Under certain conditions there's usually only sometimes a 50 percent chance that they survive," he said. "It's an extreme measure that's taken under the absolute worst conditions."

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