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19 Firefighters die battling Arizona wi

Arizona battles out of control wildfire that killed 19 firefighters
An entire unit of elite firefighters lost their lives while attempting to combat a fire threatening the small town of Yarnell, about 80 miles north-west of Phoenix, Arizona.

Hot winds blew a US wildfire out of control, killing 19 elite firefighters in the country's deadliest wildfire involving emergency workers for at least 30 years.

The specially trained "hotshot" firefighters were forced to deploy their fire shelters - tent-like structures meant to shield them from flames and heat - when they were caught near the town of Yarnell, a state forestry spokesman said.

The fire started on Friday and spread to 2,000 acres (809 hectares) on Sunday amid high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions.

Officials ordered the evacuations of more than 50 homes in several communities.

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Submitted: 07/01/2013
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