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Mon, Oct. 21

UPDATE: Yarnell Hill fire community meeting is 3:30 p.m. today in Prescott

Courtesy photo<br>
 A helicopter drops water on the Yarnell Hill fire Monday.

Courtesy photo<br> A helicopter drops water on the Yarnell Hill fire Monday.

The Type I incident management team that took over the battle against the Yarnell Hill fire today is conducting a community meeting at 3:30 p.m. today at the Prescott High School.

The Prescott Fire Department confirmed today that the only survivor on its 20-man Granite Mountain Hotshots crew is Brendan McDonough, according to CNN. He was positioned in a different location.

The Prescott Fire Department has set up a website at YarnellFallenFirefighters.com that contains a wealth of information for the public, including information about donations.

The Type I national team currently is assessing the fire and will provide an update about it during today's public meeting.

The fire is now the number-one priority in the country for national resources. About 500 firefighters are on the ground and receiving air support.

The Forest Service has directed the military to move all four of its heavy air tankers carrying MAFFs (Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems) into the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport by Wednesday in case they are needed. They can carry 3,000 gallons of retardant.

One MAFFS aircraft already has dropped a load on the Dean Peak fire near Kingman.

The Forest Service calls in the MAFFs when commercial and private air tankers are no longer able to meet its needs, a military news release said.

The fire remains listed at 8,400 acres with zero containment and approximately 200 structures burned in Yarnell, about 20 miles south of Prescott.

The entire community of Yarnell, population 650, and homes throughout nearby Peeples Valley to the north, population 375, were evacuated Sunday.

The fire grew exponentially on Sunday and killed 19 of the 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots from the Prescott Fire Department. It went from about 200 acres Sunday morning to nearly 8,400 acres by Monday morning.

An investigation into the deaths is beginning today, led by Florida State Forester Jim Karels. Mike Dudley, acting director of Cooperative Forestry for the U.S. Forest Service, will be the secondary team lead. Other state and federal agencies also are assisting.

They will review Sunday's weather conditions, fire department records, radio logs and other evidence that could help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

"We are confident that the investigative team will find lessons to be learned from this tragedy," Arizona State Forester Scott Hunt said in a news release. "We have a responsibility to those lost and their loved ones, as well as to current and future wildland firefighters, to understand what happened as completely as possible."

State Highway 89 remains closed between Kirkland and Wickenburg.

Red Cross shelters are located at Yavapai College in Prescott and the Wickenburg High School. Small animals are welcome. A large animal shelter is located at Hidden Springs Ranch on the northern end of Peeples Valley.

Firefighters are hoping for better weather conditions today than the last two days, when monsoon thunderstorms produced erratic winds but no precipitation on the fire.

Those winds caused the flames to shift and overtake the 19 hotshots.

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