Yarnell Hill Fire: Firefighters survived initial wildfire surge

(Source: CBS 5 News)

The Granite Mountain Hot Shots survived the initial explosion that caused the Yarnell Hill Fire to expand so rapidly.

A source with direct knowledge of what took place on the mountain on Sunday described what happened between 4:45 p.m., when the fire erupted, and 5:55 p.m., when the National Fire Administration estimated the firefighters deployed their fire shelters.

The source said the firefighters retreated into a previously burned area, known as "the black" to wildland firefighters.

At that point, the Granite Mountain Superintendent, Eric Marsh, spoke into his two-way radio and said, "We're in the black. We're good."

For a reason unknown to the source, the Granite Mountain crew left the area where they originally fled and tried to make it to a nearby ranch.

Fire investigators say the ranch was the crew's designated safety zone. But they never made it. The fire overtook the team in a basin, about a quarter of a mile from the ranch.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.