Courtesy of InciWeb
The Cedar Fire in Arizona scorched about 46,000 acres but got hot enough to force six members of an elite firefighting crew to deploy emergency shelters.

Navajo Hotshot Crew Members Deploy Emergency Shelters During Wildfire Fight

ICTMN Staff
7/4/16

An investigation is under way into what caused six members of a Navajo Interagency Hotshot Crew to deploy their last-resort fire shelters while fighting a blaze.

On June 28, six members of the Navajo Interagency Hotshot Crew were forced to deploy their fire shelters in the Cedar Fire in Arizona, according to statements from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The fire was relatively small—consuming 45,977 acres, or 72 square miles, as opposed to the millions of acres burned in previous fires throughout the West—but it turned potentially deadly.

“A crew was working near a flare-up on the remaining uncontrolled fire line of the Cedar Fire,” the Bureau of Indian Affairs said in a news release. “It is unknown at this time what may have caused a sudden change in fire activity; however a portion of the crew was forced to deploy their fire shelters to protect themselves.”

The event occurred almost to the day of the three-year anniversary of the deaths of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots in a fire near Yarnell, Arizona on June 30, 2013.

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The 2016 incident had a much better outcome.

“Current reports state that none of the firefighters received life-threatening injuries, and once the area cooled off they were able to walk out of the area,” the BIA said.

Nevertheless, the incident merits study, the BIA added.

“A serious Accident Investigation Team is responding to the incident and will conduct a comprehensive investigation on circumstances surrounding the deployment,” the BIA said. “A shelter deployment is considered a serious incident in the wildland firefighting community and an extensive investigation will follow.”

The Cedar Fire was brought 100 percent under control on July 2.

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