POTRERO, Calif. – A group of firefighters who had to deploy their fire shelters this week while battling an Arizona blaze were part of the Navajo Interagency Hotshot Crew.
Six firefighters in the 20-member crew deployed their shelters Tuesday, 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.
The six who deployed their shelters Tuesday were treated for smoke inhalation but were otherwise uninjured. They haven’t been identified.
Authorities are still investigating what led to the deployment of the shelters but said 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.