As Long Islanders, we are unfortunately familiar with wildfires. On Sunday in Yarnell, Arizona a fast moving wildfire took the lives of nineteen firefighters and destroyed 250 homes. Officials said that this is country's worst wildfire disaster in at least 30 years. It is also the most firefighters lost on one day since September 11, 2001. Gusting winds and dry grass fed the blaze as it tore through the communities of Yarnell and Glen Isla about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.
The lost firefighters were all members of the Prescott Fire Department's Granite Mountain Hotshots. They specialize in attacking wildfires like the Yarnell Hill Fire. These elite firefighters often hike for miles into the wilderness with chain saws and backpacks filled with heavy gear to build lines of protection between people and fires. They remove brush, trees and anything that might burn in the direction of homes and cities.
The blaze has destroyed half of the town's homes. It has burned more than 2,000 acres and is uncontained, fire officials said. Federal firefighting help is on the way and that the number of firefighters on the scene will reach 400.
Here are some ways you can help the vicitims of the Arizona wildfires:
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter is accepting monetary donations to help provide food, snacks, water and beds at two shelters.
The 100 Club of Arizona
The 100 Club's Survivor Fund in memory of the Granite Mountain Hotshots
The United Way
The United Way of Yavapai County will distribute donations to the crew members' families and Yarnell citizens.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation
They help families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and assist injured firefighters and their families.
Prescott Firefighter’s Charities
100% of any and all donations will go to the families of the fallen firefighters.
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Yarnell Hill NFFF Fire Hero Fund
All of the funds donated will be used to provide long term programs and assistance to the families and the coworkers of the firefighters who died in Yarnell, Arizona.
Just as so many showed their support to Long Islanders after Hurricane Sandy, so should we support Arizona in their time of need.
If you're involved in any community outreach programs, or you're organizing an event in support of Arizona, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in this list.
[Source: USA Today]