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19 firefighters killed battling Arizona blaze

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ARIZONA: At least 19 firefighters were killed battling a fast-moving wildfire menacing a small town in central Arizona‚ the US Wildland Fire Aviation service.

An estimated 500 homes have been destroyed by the ongoing fire that is currently covering more than 2‚000 acres. Wickenburg Community Hospital is treating at least eight firefighters who were among 22 injured in the line of duty.

“It has been confirmed that 19 wildland firefighters have lost their lives on the Yarnell Hill fire Arizona‚” the US Wildland Fire Aviation said in a statement‚ Reuters reports.

Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman‚ Mike Reichling‚ said the fire is quickly reaching “Type 1” status. It is estimated that two hundred firefighters are now battling the flames. Federal authorities are expected to arrive with additional force to help tackle the disaster. Reichling expects manpower to reach about 400 people and involve numerous water carrying aircrafts.

About 250 firefighters‚ including two Type 2 crews‚ three Type 1 crews‚ and four engines‚ were on the scene‚ Reichling said. Three Type 1 crews‚ seven helicopters‚ two air tankers‚ four single engine air tankers‚ and multiple engines and air tankers were ordered.

Earlier Sunday‚ 50 homes in the Buckhorn‚ Model Creek and Double A Bar Ranch areas some 85 miles from Phoenix were ordered to evacuate. By afternoon the evacuation order included residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell.

The natural disaster also shut down state Route 89‚ the Arizona Department of Transportation announced.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Yavapai College in Prescott‚ the sheriff’s office said.

The blaze erupted first on Friday but rapidly spread on Sunday as the area was hit by unfavorable weather conditions.

The blaze erupted first on Friday but rapidly spread on Sunday as the area was hit by unfavorable weather conditions.

Asad Haroon
A netpreneur, blogger and above all; A Human 🙂 Asad tweets from @aghaasadharoon and can also be approached on Google+

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