Thousands gather to remember Ariz. firefighters - New York News

Thousands gather to remember Ariz. firefighters

Posted: Updated:
PRESCOTT, Ariz. -

An evening memorial for the 19 firefighters killed in an Arizona wildfire brought thousands of mourners to a high school football stadium.
 
The service in the mountain town of Prescott marked the first opportunity for many in the community to gather together since the men fighting a fire in nearby Yarnell died in the line of duty.
 
The crowd filled the bleachers of a 3,000-seat stadium, with many attending also sitting on the field.
 
The service struck a deeply religious tone with preachers urging the crowd to offer the families of the victims their love and support.
 
After one moment of silence, 19 purple balloons - one for each of the fallen firefighters - were released into the air while taps played.
 
The memorial Tuesday came after one held the previous afternoon at a gymnasium.

Earlier Tuesday, fire officials announced the Arizona wildfire is 8% contained.

The new containment figure Tuesday evening marked the first clear sign of progress against the forest fire in the town of Yarnell being fought by nearly 600 firefighters.

It had been zero percent contained since Sunday when flames jumped amid shifting winds and created a death trap for 19 members of a Prescott-based Hotshot crew.

The day marked the nation's biggest loss of firefighters since 9/11, and it came as hot, dry weather hit the Southwest.

Yarnell Fire Stats  
Number of acres burned 8,400
Containment 8%
Structures burned 200

Jim Whittington, spokesman for Southwest Incident Command Team, said the fire remains at roughly 8,400 acres.

Containment was primarily along the northeast corner and southeast flank of the fire. Firefighters will try to get the whole east side contained tomorrow and continue to work the corners of the fire from there.

Video: FOX 10's Kristen Keogh spoke to people at the vigil who knew the victims. FOX 10's Anita Roman reports on plans to honor the firefighters at the Prescott rodeo.

For more on wildfires in Arizona, go to myfoxphoenix.com/wildfires.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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