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Updated: 07/02/2013 2:11 PM
Created: 07/01/2013 6:30 PM KSTP.com | Print |  Email
By: Naomi Pescovitz

Minn. Firefighters Mourn Deaths of 19 in Arizona

Minnesotans are often deployed to help fight major fires. Right now, a Minnesota state contract helicopter and its five member DNR crew are helping with the Yarnell Fire in Arizona. They changed staff Tuesday.

Minnesota DNR Forester Bob Quady fights fire in and out of Minnesota, a passion with a purpose.

"Fire is unpredictable; it's inherently unpredictable. It's nature, different fuels, different conditions," Quady said.

News that 19 members of his own brotherhood were killed hits close to home.

"You would guess that there are a lot of firefighters out there but you go out west, I go out multiple times, I meet the same people from different parts of the country. It is a pretty small group of people and you interact over the years with them often," Quady said.

Minnesota doesn't have Type 1 Hotshots crews. However, the state's type 2 Initial Attack crews respond to fires across the country, even Canada. There is currently a 20-person crew of Minnesotans in New Mexico, fighting the same type of dangerous heat and wind as the teams in Arizona.

All front line firefighters carry bag-like fire shelters, which take 20 to 40 seconds to deploy.

"He's going to shake out the shelter, as quickly as he possibly can, step inside of it, get his body inside the straps, pull it over the top of himself," said Don Mueller, Forestry Supervisor for the Minnesota DNR while explaining a demonstration of the shelter.

"It's meant for reflecting the heat; it can't take direct impingement, the fire can't burn right up against it," Quady said.

Firefighters are taught to lay flat, stomach down. Outside, laminated fabric reflects heat. Inside, it is uncomfortable.

"It's hot and stuffy, not much air movement," said Minnesota DNR Rural Fire Programs Specialist Jacob Beauregard from inside the shelter.

"It's always going to be worse outside the shelter, so your best bet chance of survival is to stay in and to trap that breathable air," Beauregard said.

"They are considered an absolute last resort, so firefighters are trained to recognize when they are getting into a dangerous situation how to communicate, where their escape routes are, where their safety zones are," Mueller said.

Minnesota DNR Forester Bob Quady fights fire in an out of Minnesota, a passion with a purpose.

"Fire is unpredictable, it's inherently unpredictable. It's nature, different fuels, different conditions," Quady said.

News that 19 members of his own brotherhood were killed hits close to home.

"You would guess that there are a lot of firefighters out there but you go out west, I go out multiple times, I meet the same people from different parts of the country. It is a pretty small group of people and you interact over the years with them often," Quady said.

Minnesota doesn't have Type 1 Hotshots crews. However, the states type 2 Initial Attack crews respond to fires across the country, even Canada. There is currently a 20-person crew of Minnesotans in New Mexico, fighting the same type of dangerous heat and wind as the teams in Arizona.

All front line firefighters carry bag-like fire shelters which take 20 to 40 seconds to deploy.

"He's going to shake out the shelter, as quickly as he possibly can, step inside of it, get his body inside the straps, pull it over the top of himself," said Don Mueller, Forestry Supervisor for the Minnesota DNR while explaining a demonstration of the shelter.

"It's meant for reflecting the heat, it can't take direct impingement, the fire can't burn right up against it," Quady said.

Firefighters are taught to lay flat, stomach down. Outside, laminated fabric reflects heat. Inside, it is uncomfortable.

"It's hot and stuffy, not much air movement," said Minnesota DNR Rural Fire Programs Specialist Jacob Beauregard from inside the shelter.

"It's always going to be worse outside the shelter, so your best bet chance of survival is to stay in and to trap that breathable air," Beauregard said.

"They are considered an absolute last resort so firefighters are trained to recognize when they are getting into a dangerous situation how to communicate, where their escape routes are, where their safety zones are," Mueller said.


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