Hotshot firefighters killed in AZ helped battle NM fire

Posted at: 07/01/2013 7:46 AM
Updated at: 07/01/2013 11:06 AM
By: Elizabeth Reed,

The elite hot shot crew that lost 19 firefighters in Arizona also helped fight a fire in New Mexico, according to the state forestry's Facebook page.

Santa Fe Fire Chief Erik Litzenberg confirmed that the Granite Mountain Hot Shots helped battle the Thompson Ridge Fire last month in Jemez. He said leaders within the Hot Shots also helped train and mentor many members of the City of Santa Fe's Fire Department.

"They've been a big support to us, and this hits very close to home," Chief Litzenberg wrote in a statement. "A lot of what we do, locally, is thanks to what we've learned from these valiant individuals, and from what they have done with their program."

Chief Litzenberg explained his department uses safety, program development and even budgeting tactics cultivated by the Granite Mountain Hot Shots. He spoke to the team’s commander last night offering any assistance the SFFD could provide.

Lightning sparked the Yarnell Hill fire on Friday and the blaze grew to 2,000 acres by Sunday due to hot, dry conditions, according to the Associated Press.

"This is a reminder that this is very dangerous work, and we have thousands of men and women on the front lines in New Mexico today," Gov. Susana Martinez wrote in a statement. "As we prepare for our Fourth of July celebrations, it's important to keep our fire crews and first responders in our prayers. We want them to return safely to their loved ones."