19 Elite Firefighters Killed in Massive Arizona Wildfire

Single deadliest incident for firefighters since Sept. 11, 2001.
5:42 | 07/01/13

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Transcript for 19 Elite Firefighters Killed in Massive Arizona Wildfire
This is a special report from ABC news. I'm tired and as an ABC news digital special report nineteen elite firefighters died -- on the front lines of a ferocious wildfire in Arizona. The single deadliest incident for firefighters in September 11. Firefighters encountered conditions -- became so bad so fast they took an extreme measure in -- hail -- -- to stay alive. It -- -- David Wright is alive and -- it with what's happening now. Good morning David what can you tell us. Good morning -- well this is. Devastating news here in Prescott where at least eighteen of the nineteen who died yesterday are from one unit -- a lead. Granite -- hotspots crew not clear where the nineteen -- person was from. May have been an additional firefighter attached to that unit but. As you say this is the most. Devastating day for firefighters in this country since nine elevenths the most shocking news in Arizona. Since the attack on congresswoman Gabby Giffords two years ago -- seeing. Tweets and and tributes from. All of the big politicians here -- in Arizona as well as nationally. People recognizing these fallen heroes and the tragedy that struck this community and still rages. In the form of that wildfire. David we've been hearing a lot about those. Personal individual shelters at some of the firefighters had been found and that is a last resort for the firefighters and -- -- use in extreme conditions let me tell us about. Yeah every firefighter -- and they come and a box about this big. And the firefighters call them -- shake and -- tense because you shake it out. And you get into it -- ally on the ground and you. Bake until the fire goes over top of -- it's not an ideal circumstance it's only used in the last resort it's about the size of a sleeping -- And inside that tent of the -- -- right over top of view it's a that the temperature can get up to about. 200 degrees which is terribly uncomfortable outside 500 degrees or more. Now for all of these firefighters deploy those -- is the first time they'd ever deployed them for this unit which has been around more than a decade so that tells you something. About. The severity of the conditions that they were facing. The first time that ever deployed -- in the field I should say they train for this thing every day and that even we reporters who cover wildfires. -- these tense with us when we're going into a fire zone and are taught how to deploy them. But you really don't want to be in a situation where you have to deploy one mostly. Firefighters and people covering wildfires look for a way out clearly there wasn't such a way out. -- in this instance and we see the tragic results today. David -- authorities talked about how they might do things differently in approaching this fire from here on given me. Massive deaths. You know I think that. That. The tragedy is recognized we will see. You know a lot of focus on the the fallen firefighters to be sure but the work of fighting that fire continues its now 8000 acres the latest number that I saw. 250 homes destroyed. Those numbers will probably be revised this morning but is still burning out of control. And there are still firefighters that are having to race into those flames knowing what happened the work doesn't stop just because. Too many firefighters have died in fact the work continues but it's -- be. All the more difficult. Emotionally on these firefighters. Knowing that they lost so many of their -- this. Job that tends to bring people together it's. It's more than just a day job these -- Brotherhood are fighting fire. The brotherhood is in morning. Let's talk a little bit about the weather conditions that have made this so terrible -- are -- expecting more of those today. Well the forecast for today is for a 114. Degrees here. With winds of five to ten miles per hour. -- -- -- lightning strikes overnight some people are beginning to. Wonder who is that might have led to additional hotspots popping up this has been heat wave here in Arizona it's always hot in the summer but especially right now. -- High winds make these fires all the more difficult because it tends to -- the fire through dry brush and it burns pretty fast. What's the sense on the ground there and in -- so what are people saying what -- their concerns about these fires. As we continue on into the season. People are concerned about their homes by and large these fires can can. -- an entire community can burn out an entire town people are also concerned about. Livestock and livelihood. They get warnings to evacuate sometimes people don't want it would backed group because they're. What a wet down their -- -- the fire approaches this is dangerous stuff but it's. You know stuff that that. People across the west of this country. Deal with every year just as there is tornado season in. In the midwest and hurricane season in the southeast wildfire season west -- You know a kind of natural disaster season that happens like clockwork. People here dreaded but they are kind of to resigned to it as well. All right David Wright thank you so much for keeping us informed this morning. All right -- thanks -- this is an ABC news digital special report we now return to our regular programming. This has been a special group. Report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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