Ken Willette, NFPA's division manager for Public Fire Protection, fielded questions about the deadly Yarnell Hill Fire from PBS news anchor Judy Woodruff during a recent broadcast of NewsHour. Nineteen firefighters lost their lives in the ongoing blaze, which is considered the deadliest incident for firefighters since September 11.
Willette offered insight into the duties and responsibilities of the "hot shot crew," a team of wildland firefighters known for their physical agility, extensive training in wildfire suppression, and ability to self-sustain for days in potentially dangerous conditions. All 19 fallen firefighters were part of this team.
While their causes of death are still undetermined, Willette says responding to the conditions in the area--ample amounts of low vegetative fuel and high heat, for example--was "probably one of the hardest firefighting tasks a firefighter can ever encounter."
Willette also shed light on "fire shelters" and its use during fighting wildfires. See the entire interview here:
Watch Firefighters Who Perished in Arizona Faced High Heat on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.