400 firefighters now at Ariz. blaze that killed 19
Ina Ronquillo, Laura Kittell
YARNELL, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV/AP) - Four hundred firefighters are now battling the Arizona wildfire that killed 19 firefighters.
Yavapai Community Health Services says 200 more firefighters have joined the fight. Hundreds of people are evacuated, and shelters are set up for residents.
An automated call warning people to evacuate was sent, and sheriff's officers are going door-to-door to make sure people get out of their homes.
A caravan of white vans carrying the bodies of the 19 firefighters killed in the Yarnell Wildfire arrived in Phoenix to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office shortly after noon Monday.
They passed under the arched ladders of two fire trucks with a large American flag billowing from another vehicle on a turnoff road.
The medical examiner's office in Phoenix will conduct autopsies on all 19 fallen firefighters.
Numerous officials from Arizona and across the country have realeased statements regarding the death of 19 firefighters killed in the line of duty battling the Yarnell Fire.
In a statement, Gov. Jan Brewer said it will take days or longer to reveal how the tragedy occurred. She called Sunday "as dark a day as I can remember."
Other high profile Arizonans expressed their shock on Twitter, including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who called it "absolutely devastating news." U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake tweeted that he was "sick with the news."
The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office has notified residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell to evacuate.
The fire started with a lightning strike on Friday and spread to more than 8,300 acres as of Monday morning. It has burned around 200 homes northwest of Phoenix.
The Department of State Public Safety has closed State Highway 89 between Date Creek Road South of Yarnell and Sorrells Ranch Road North of Peeples Valley. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has three different road blocks the junctions of Highway 89 and Hayes Ranch Road, Hays Ranch Road and Sickles Ranch Road and Buckhorn and Frontier Road.
Firefighters will continue work to secure the Eastern flank of the fire and protect other homes at risk. Air tankers will be dropping fire retardant on the perimeter of the fire and 5 helicopters assigned to the fire will be dropping water on hot spots in support of the firefighters.
The Arizona Incident Management Team tells KGUN 9 that another 20 person Hot Shot Team is on order.