Bill Gabbert, author of the blog “Wildfire Today” and a former wildland firefighter, put together a look at the deadliest fires in history, to help readers put the Yarnell Fire in perspective.
Deaths while fighting wildland fire, sadly, are not uncommon. But Gabbert points out that the number of firefighters who died in Arizona, 19, is a tragic, rare occurrence.
But as many as 19 being killed at one time has not happened since October 3, 1933, when 25 firefighters were entrapped and killed while fighting a fire in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. The only other incident with more than 19 wildland firefighter fatalities occurred on the “Big Blowup Fires” of August 21, 1910 when 72 firefighters died in Idaho.
Gabbert’s blog post gives a round-up of the deadliest fires in history, using data from the National Interagency Fire Center. The Storm King Mountain incident, which killed 14 smokejumpers near Glenwood Springs in 1994 is on the list.
Also, read this post to learn more about what happens when firefighters are trapped by flame.