Nineteen brave men died yesterday. Fire crew from the Prescott Hot Shots were trying to set a backfire outside Yarnell, Arizona to fight a fire probably caused by lightning when something went very, tragically wrong. They were equipped with portable shelters a lot like a space blanket, but they didn't work. Fire moved too fast? Fire was too hot? We may never know.
The supervisors who run fire crews prefer not to risk lives just to protect property, but. Really big but. The fire was moving fast and heading towards the town. If Yarnell is like the Oregon logging town where I grew up you have one main road and not much else. For at least five miles either direction the trees line the highway. No place to run. No place to hide.
In Arizona they were facing record high temperatures, tinder dry fuel and high winds. You're faced with a catch 22. Dangerous to defend. Almost impossible to evacuate. They tried to fight the dragon. This time the dragon won.