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Fire burns over 3 California firefighters; all OK

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Three trapped firefighters had to deploy their personal fire shelters as a rapid wind shift sent a Northern California wildfire burning over their location Monday, authorities said. All three survived with no serious injuries.

The firefighters had created a predetermined safety zone earlier in the day and retreated there when the fire worsened about 5:30 p.m. Monday, Beaver Fire spokesman Corey Wilford said. Still, the flames burned over their location. A thunderstorm produced winds as high as 35 mph, causing extreme fire behavior.

Wilford said all firefighters in the area were withdrawing as the thunderstorm approached. All personnel were safe late Monday night, he said.

The three were not immediately identified. Wilford said he didn't know if they suffered any minor injuries.

The fire in Siskiyou County near Klamath River, California, has burned across nearly 40 square miles and was reported 30 percent contained.

The sheriff's office issued more mandatory evacuation notices Monday but Wilford did not immediately know how many homes were affected.

The Beaver Fire and a second Northern California blaze reportedly were threatening nearly 750 rural homes.

Meanwhile, crews were anticipating the possibility of more lightning strikes while battling a lightning-sparked wildfire in Mendocino County about 200 miles southwest of the Klamath blazes. The fire near Laytonville had burned through nearly 15 square miles and was threatening nearly 60 structures. Mandatory evacuation orders remained in place.

Elsewhere in the West, rescuers escorted to safety 19 hikers trapped on Sunday by a wildfire atop Saddle Mountain State Park near Seaside, Oregon.

And in Idaho, firefighters made progress against the state's largest wildfire, which had burned 101 square miles on the Idaho side of the Snake River near the Oregon and Washington border. The fire was nearly 50 percent contained, though crews were expecting triple-digit temperatures and gusty winds later in the week that could pose problems.

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bd2thebone August 12 2014 at 2:12 PM

Glad they made it. Thank you for your service and bravery.
Frank retired fire Cap.

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katieryan5555 August 12 2014 at 2:12 PM

The first header on this article implied that they had done a rare, extreme, and more than dangerous thing.

Come to find out in this badly written article that they used their "personal fire shelters" and survived with no major injuries.

THAT IS WHAT THE SHELTERS ARE FOR. They used standard training methods and gear to live. It takes a lot of hard work to get to that level of skill and suprise, it worked!

There was nothing super rare about this. It's not like they dug temporary coffin holes ( those are horrible beyond measure) I'm am so sick of vague articles that make the firefigthers look half dumb. These guys are HEROS and deserve better than what this article gave them.

AOL today you get the "Spincter Award" for incompentant reporting and disrespectful gossip.

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1 reply
katyclaire katieryan5555 August 12 2014 at 4:30 PM

Actually having to deploy a fire shelter is a rare occurrence. Most firefighters will go through their entire careers having done so only during training. I never even met another firefighter that had deployed a fire shelter. I did see video with interviews and these guys will tell you it is a harrowing experience. It gets hot inside the shelter and you can still be burned. No offense to you but I don't think the article was disrespectful. It came from a layman's perspective and didn't say anything offensive or disrespectful to firefighters.

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mgt0331 August 12 2014 at 3:40 PM

No matter how they survived they are crazy for doing this. My hat is off to these brave men and women. Wow, crazy job. I thought my job was difficult.

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jmkminer August 12 2014 at 2:18 PM

With so many homes in danage every time there is a fire, I am surprised home owners do nothing to protect the houses. The average house can be protected for about $1500. Yet very few if any even clear the minimum defencable space around the house. I saved my house using this simple method years ago and would never be without it if I lived in a fire zone. Same method could be used in an area where there are many houses close together. But, I guess the insurance will replace the loss.

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1 reply
msmith6791 jmkminer August 12 2014 at 4:40 PM

$1,500 FOR WHAT?

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dan_crabtree August 12 2014 at 4:35 PM

Some one somewhere is sitting these fires..as now they are way past that natural stage

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msmith6791 August 12 2014 at 4:40 PM

Wonder if they brough hot dogs and marshmellows (sp?) while they were waiting for the fire to pass?

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drsreflect August 12 2014 at 11:17 PM

Wioth Granite Mountian still fress in all of our memories, this is scarey as they thought they were in a safety zone and it shows how quick the wind can change. ANT TIME you have to deploy a shelter for any reason is a scarey thing and THANK GOD THEY ARE SAFE.
AVFD member

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tazzubek66 August 13 2014 at 3:49 AM

Firefighters run into the danger zone to protect and rescue those in need and they are heroes for putting their lives on the line constantly.

My positive thoughts and personal thanks are always with firefighters and I am glad all of these guys are okay.

Keep up the awesome work guys we appreciate everything you do for the rest of us. Thank you and stay safe!

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