Floodwood Firefighter: 'Everyone Feels the Loss'

Posted at: 07/01/2013 4:17 PM
Updated at: 07/01/2013 6:23 PM

The deaths of 19 hotshot firefighters from Arizona are affecting fire crews from the Northland.

"The wildland fire community is a small group. Everyone feels a loss like this. Everyone is pretty shaken up. Our thoughts are with their friends and family," Pat Manee said. He's a lead firefighter with the Minnesota DNR.

"That group was here during the Pagami Creek wildfire. They had great attitudes, always a smile on their faces, great jokes," remembered Manee.

Manee just returned home with a crew from Colorado. They had been fighting the Black Forest fire and other blazes.

He told us he's never used the fire shelter in his pack, and he hopes he never has to. The hotshot group in Arizona had attempted to use them, as the fire conditions worsened.

"They're like a small tent you pull out and slide under. When you use them, you know your life is in danger," Manee said.

For now, he and others like him are sending thoughts and prayers out West, to the loved ones of the men who died so bravely.

The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center said that there are crews from Minnesota battling the deadly Arizona blaze.