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Hotshots Battling Cedar Creek Fire Forced to Use Emergency Shelters

Hotshots Battling Cedar Creek Fire Forced to Use Emergency Shelters
July 05
10:48 2016

A group of firefighters battling the Cedar Creek Fire near Show Low had to deploy their fire shelters last week.Emergency Fire Shelter

The firefighters were part of the Navajo Interagency Hotshot Crew.

Six firefighters in the 20-member crew deployed their shelters last week, a few days after the three-year anniversary of a fire that claimed the lives of 19 Yarnell Hotshot crewmembers. The Yarnell Hotshots deployed their fire shelters in a last-ditch effort to save themselves.

The lightweight cocoons are made of reflective material and are intended as a firefighter’s last resort.

“A shelter deployment is considered a serious incident in the wildland firefighting community,” stated Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Sharon Pinto. “Our 6 members who deployed their fire shelters called us 15 minutes after deployment, they were safe. They were being treated for smoke inhalation and we will send them home to their families.”

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye stated, “Our Navajo Nation Hotshot crew placed their lives in harm’s way to protect our mother earth and people who reside in the path of the Cedar Creek Fire. We commend all 20 members and thank God for protecting the 6 members who walked away with their lives.”

Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez also shared the same gratitude as Begaye, saying, “We continue to pray for all firefighters who place their lives in harm’s way and we are especially thankful that 6 of our own will return home to their families.”

Nez continued by encouraging tribal members to be aware of the dangers of fire during the height of the summer heat wave and to practice fire prevention.

Authorities are still investigating what led to the deployment of the shelters but it was reported that the hotshot crew was in an area where the fire wasn’t yet controlled.

The fire is burning on 71 square miles on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

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