Experts probe deadly Arizona blaze
The bodies of 19 young firefighters killed in America's deadliest wildfire in 80 years were removed in a cortege of white vans Monday, as experts probed how they perished so suddenly. The names of the dead men, mostly in their 20s, were released a day after the Yarnell Hill fire tragedy, in which all but one of a 20-strong elite team were killed, many in cocoon-like last-ditch protection shelters. The blaze, which quadrupled in size overnight, was the most lethal since the September 11, 2011 which cost the lives of 340 firefighters in the ashes of the Twin Towers in New York.
President Barack Obama telephoned Brewer -- a Republican with whom he has previously had strained relations -- to pledge federal aid to help learn from the tragedy, and deal with the blaze. "He also expressed his gratitude to the hundreds of first responders who continue to work around the clock to protect homes and businesses from this deadly blaze," the White House said in a statement.
The victims' bodies were loaded into a fleet of white coroner's vans Monday for the 85 mile (135 km) trip south to Phoenix, where a large stars-and-stripes flag billowed in the wind as they arrived, guards standing solemnly by. By Monday the raging fire had ripped through more than 8,000 acres (3,200 hectares), up from 2,000 late Sunday, and was zero percent contained, officials said.
High winds were expected to worsen the blaze, complicating the task for the some 400 firefighters now battling it, up from 200 on Sunday.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at The Daily Nation