West Fork Complex firefighters given short stand down to remember 19 Arizona firefighters who died
Last Updated: 162 days ago
SOUTH FORK, Colo. - Firefighters at the West Fork Fire in Southern Colorado were given a two-hour stand down Monday morning after being briefed about the deaths of 19 wildland firefighters in Yarnell, Arizona.
Eighteen of the 19 victims were from the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots, fire officials said. It's unclear where the other victim was based.
As of 3 a.m. Monday morning, the Yarnell Fire had tripled in size and is now 6,000 acres, according to Arizona incident commander Mike Reichling.
In Colorado, incident managers said they would hold a moment of silence and a two-hour stand down.
"A stand down is a pause to stop and reflect about not only the tragedy in Arizona, but also to stop and reflect on their mission and job," said fire information officer Mark De Gergorio. "Taking a break before going to the fire line to help them plan their day."
"It is with a heavy heart that we continue our operations today on the West Fork Complex. The emergency response community mourns the loss of the 19 firefighters that perished in the Yarnell Fire in Arizona," said incident commander Pete Blume. "We believe the best tribute we can give at this time is to continue to focus our efforts on maintaining public and firefighter safety in honor of those who have fallen."
There are more than 1,500 fire personnel at the West Fork Complex Fire -- a combination of fires near Pagosa Springs, Creede and South Fork.
The West Fork Complex is three fires -- the West Fork Fire, the Papoose Fire and the Windy Pass Fire. The fires have burned 96,742 acres. It is 4 percent contained at last report. The potential for growth is still consider extreme.
Incident commanders say they are still concentrating on fighting the fire and protecting structures along Highway 149 and at the Wolf Creek Ski Area and the West Fork-Borns Lake Area.
The lightning-caused fire was reported June 5.
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