WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 01, 2013, 10:25 PM

Local firefighters are reacting to Phoenix wildfire

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- 400 firefighters are now fighting a deadly wildfire 85-miles Northwest of Phoenix, Arizona.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- 400 firefighters are now fighting a deadly wildfire 85-miles Northwest of Phoenix, Arizona.

19-Hotshot members were killed trying to put the wildfire out. 14 were in their 20's.

It all began with a lightning strike. 50-homes have burned, and it's threatening 250 more.

This huge inferno has jumped to 13 square miles. To give you a better idea of just how big of an area that is. That's about one-fourth the size of Fargo.

And one local firefighter I spoke with today, he used to fight wildfires just like this, and says it's hard to explain the power these types of fires bring.

It doesn't take much to spin a fire like this out of control.

"Will cover a mile in minutes when the wind gets behind them."

And it's not the first time it's happened. Probably won't be the last either.

"we had a fire go through laguna beach."

Battalion Chief, Dane Carley, knows from experience.

Dane Carley- Battalion Chief: "it's exciting in a way. Because you're doing so much good for so many people."

For years, he watched blazes explode, fires grow and battled them back down.

The man power, the resources and the crews - he says - doesn't compare to cities like Fargo.

Carley: "thousands of firefighters a lot of times. Hundreds of engines."

And Carley's glad. Our geography, lacks the necessary means to spark a fire that big.

Ryan Viergutz- Fargo Fire Department: "wild land fires are a much larger scale. They can cover thousands of acres."

To match the power, comes highly trained firefighters. Just like the 19 "hotshots" killed in action. Who, in their last resort to escape the fire deployed tent like safety shelter. But the raging fire was too strong.

"we train really hard to try and avoid those things."

"They took years to get to that position."

Although, it's rare and seems so far away. These firefighters say, it hits so close to home.

"We lose firefighters it seems like every week. And it's something you can associate with."

We have a group similar to the hotshots here in North Dakota. 13 people from that crew, along with 4 engines, out of Bismark, have been deployed to New Mexico fighting fires since June 4th.