Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell issued the following statement today on the wildfire in Arizona:
"I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot crew yesterday near Yarnell, Arizona. I join all Interior Department employees in honoring their courage and sacrifice and standing with their families in their time of grief. The word "hero" can be overused, but in this case the word fails to do justice to these firefighters who stood in the path of a roaring inferno to protect their communities.
"In May, I visited the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho with Secretary Tom Vilsack and saw the professionalism and dedication of the members of the firefighting community as they prepared for this severe fire season. Just this last weekend, I met with a Hotshot crew in Utah and witnessed first-hand their commitment to our nation and emphasis on firefighter safety. We can never be vigilant enough when it comes to safety, and we will continue to seek new ways of keeping our firefighters safe.
"Today, 58 Interior Department employees are on the ground fighting the Yarnell fire, and we stand ready to provide whatever further assistance the state of Arizona and local communities need to extinguish the blaze and protect lives and property.
"As we as a nation and as a department mourn this terrible loss, I am reminded of the passage, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.' On this sad day, may all of us honor these 19 firefighters for their "greater love.'"