Arizona's Wildfire Sparks Firefighter Safety Concerns - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Arizona's Wildfire Sparks Firefighter Safety Concerns

Posted: Updated:

YAKIMA, WWash.-- Every summer the heat gets to be too much for many of us, but for some families it has taken more from them then most can imagine.

High temperatures bring the threat of wildfires, and officials say safety is their highest concern when it comes to battling the flames.

But the deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona on Sunday, has reopened the wounds for the families of four firefighters who were killed in the 30-Mile Fire in Winthrop in 2001.

Kathie Fitzpatrick's daughter died while fighting the 30-Mile Fire.  Ken Weaver's son was fighting next to Fitzpatrick and also died in that fire.

They both feel the pain of the families who lost loved ones in Arizona on Sunday.

"Once the numbness starts to wear off, I recall thinking really vividly, my god, this is going to happen to other people.  The thought of anybody else going through that just tore me up," Weaver said

But with questions about who sent those men and women into the burning hillsides, officials said they have a plan to keep firefighters safe and they are never asked to go into a deadly situation.

Washington's Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark, said firefighters are never told to go into those situations.

"Firefighters are never asked to enter a situation that could be risky to their well-being.  The whole point of firefighting and safety is to make sure firefighters are only deployed in a situation where they can be safe and secure," Goldmark said.

Goldmark also said firefighters go through a week long, intensive training course for these situations and follow the acronym LCES, which stands for: lookout, communication, escape routes and safety zones.

The Forest Service has made changes since the 30-Mile Fire to keep fire fighters safer in extreme condidtions.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.