The 19 were killed Sunday fighting a fire north of Phoenix Arizona.
"It's a sad day for the fire service," says Chief Mike Jensen with Unified Fire Authority. "It's a sad day for us."
The unimaginable fire deaths left Jason Curry with the state's Forestry, Fire and State Lands shaken.
"Overwhelming sadness and deep sympathy going out to the families and colleagues to those who lost their lives yesterday," says Curry.
Those who died belong to the Granite Hot Shots of Prescott Arizona. In their training video posted on their website, firefighters could be seen using their tent shelters as part of their training. The tent shelters are used as a last resort.
“The training says when you fear for your life and no longer able to escape from fire,” says Curry.
And that’s where the 19 hotshots were found, using their tent shelters.
“Even though all 19 deployed their shelters, they're not made to have that kind of intense heat or direct flame impingement,” says Chief Jensen.
As part of the training, firefighters learn once you’re inside your tent shelter your life can be hanging by a thread.
“I imagine it would get very hot,” says Captain Mike Greensides of Unified Fire Authority. “We're told to keep our face right to the ground and if we can to make a pocket for our mouth to get the cool air from the ground but it would be very very warm.”
Chief Jensen says Utah’s fires are showing extreme behavior. And that erratic behavior caught 19 firefighters off guard.
“We would just ask the public not to put our firefighters and others in harms way and use common sense because this year is extremely dangerous,” says Chief Jensen.