Arizona Hotshots Baptism of Fire


The Yarnell  fire is 100% contained now*. The nineteen firemen who recently lost their lives in the Yarnell, AZ have been in my thoughts. I’m not a news junkie. In the world of 24/7 news coverage—where we hear the same reports in various sensationalized ways, I manage to hear sound bites, and follow up if I choose to learn more. This story shocked me, as it has shocked so many others.

Some twenty plus years ago, my brother (now retired) was a hotshot wildland fireman in California. Like most hotshots, he loved his job. He continued to promote in job title, but his favorite days where as a hotshot. Like many hotshot crews, his crew was flown all over the US and sometimes other countries.

Hotshots are recognized as an elite crew of firefighters mostly male, and extremely physically fit. While they are young, they have their heads on straight. Not only their lives, but their buddies’ lives depend on it. They basically live with their coworkers for half the year.

During breaks between fires, I remember my brother bringing home some new hotshot friends he’d met while jointly fighting a raging forest fire somewhere. It was after a fire in Idaho I’d learned about “shake and bake.” It looks like a “moon blanket”, a thin foil sleeping bag that is only used as an absolute last resort. The firemen shake it out—then bake it out while they wait for the fire to pass over them. As the fireman in the video say, “Everyone sees God when they’re in a shake and bake tent.” If the wind shifts, it can flip these tents open and the firefighter will burn to death.

For me, it is unfathomable that nineteen hotshots died on the same day in the same location. The only way I can make sense of it is to believe the wind shifted something fierce. I bless the families and the Prescott community, as well as the comradeship of hotshots worldwide. I believe these nineteen souls move on the wings of love.

If you pray, please do for this community feeling the loss. Lift them up with your thoughts. Hold them in the Light of healing consciousness. Trust that they will find peace in their own way with this fire’s legacy.

Knowing that Native American roots are deep in Arizona, I believe these individuals were escorted into their transition by Native American ancestors. The earth is sacred, and these individuals were caretakers of the earth, releasing their life face down to the earth. Hearing only the wind and fire. Now, they beat the drums their families hear as heartbeats of newly born children.

*P.S. Four days ago I heard the fire was 90 percent contained, and today people were allowed to return home. But I haven’t heard an update on the fire. If it isn’t fully contained, sorry for misinformation. Thanks to all who’ve worked  at fire containment, and saving lives.

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