GRANITE MOUNTAIN HOTSHOTS
“This is a terrible tragedy that has been felt throughout the Firefighter community, all over the world."
- George Duardo
SDFD Fire Captain and Board President of FirefighterAid
San Diego based Firefighter charity FirefighterAid worked to raise funds and awareness on behalf of the 19 Firefighters killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire outside Prescott, Arizona on Sunday, June 30, 2013.
The 2013 Yarnell wildfire started by a lightning strike on June 29, was fueled by rising temperatures and high winds, and continued to burn uncontained. 250 Firefighters fought to protect life and property in the region, 19 of them were killed in the line of duty. Among those killed were 18 members of Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots, a specialty team of wildland Firefighters who were trained to fight wildfires in the Prescott region.
“This is a terrible tragedy that has been felt throughout the Firefighter community, all over the world,” said George Duardo, SDFD Fire Captain and Board President of FirefighterAid. He remarked upon the tragedy as a reminder of why FirefighterAid was founded, and that the organization has provided assistance to Firefighters and families all over the region. “Here in San Diego we stand with the families of the fallen and pray for their comfort and peace.”
Every year, FirefighterAid sponsors the San Diego 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb, a fundraising event which honors the memories and sacrifices of those who gave their lives on September 11, 2001. Climbers carry the photo and name of a fallen 9/11 hero, but this year’s event, occurring at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront on September 8, 2013, is seeing record registrations, due in no small part to the events in Texas, Arizona, and across the U.S. In the wake of the profound firefighter fatalities to date in 2013, FirefighterAid says they have changed the event to include the names of recently fallen heroes as well. “Our climbers have asked to climb in memory of those lost in West Texas, Houston, and now most recently Arizona,” said Robert Bunsold, Fire Engineer and Event Director for the San Diego 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb. “The climb is not just a remembrance of 9-11; unfortunately it is also a reminder that firefighters lose their lives every day in the line of duty. We will honor them and their sacrifices.”
FirefighterAid established a special fund to allow San Diegans to make tax-deductible donations to support the victims of the Yarnell Fire, and invites San Diegans to participate in the San Diego 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb as a climber, volunteer, or donor. We also sent and engine and crew out to the memorial service to represent San Diego and show support to the families.