It’s with heavy hearts that the members of the International Association of Fire Chiefs express our condolences on the tragic loss of 19 firefighters on Sunday in Arizona.
“The media coverage has made repeated reference to the collective historic loss, but each one is a tragedy within itself,” said chief Hank Clemmensen, IAFC president and chairman of the board. “Though their deaths symbolize the horrific and growing threat that wildland fire poses, we can't lose sight of the fact that each of the fallen is an amazing individual who bravely sacrificed their life in the act of saving others and left behind family and friends who loved them.”
The IAFC expresses its condolences to the families and friends of the fallen, including the members of the Prescott Fire Department and the community of wildland firefighters to which they belong.
The IAFC asks its members and the entire firefighting community to keep the fallen, their families and those still battling the Yarnell Hill fire in their thoughts and prayers.
The association also asks fire departments to honor the fallen with action. “The men and women of the Prescott Fire Department and their community are leaders in wildland fire prevention and response,” Clemmensen added. “Unfortunately, there are still many communities who feel the threat of wildland fire is something that happens to other people, or in hot, dry places like Prescott. The data tells us this isn't true, that the threat is growing in grasslands, in forests—and even in suburban areas—from coast to coast. In memory of the fallen, and those they leave behind, we ask every fire department to consider the risks to their community from nonstructure fires and work with their residents to better understand thecollective roles and responsibilities to meet that threat."