Dean Smith watches as the Yarnell Hill Fire encroaches on his home in Glenn Ilah on Sunday, June 30, 2013 near Yarnell, Ariz. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation based in Emmitsburg, Md. has set up a fund to help the families of 19 firefighters killed in Arizona over the weekend.
The firefighters were trapped and killed by windblown wildfire in Yarnell, Az. Sunday. Their names will be added to a memorial in Emmitsburg.
Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the foundation, notes the deaths in Arizona mark an alarming trend.
"[We have had] 67 firefighter deaths so far this year," Siarnicki said. "There were only 72 in all of last year."
The memorial, located about 50 miles north of D.C. is home to an eternal flame, a traditional symbol of the fire service. Its also home to an annual remembrance ceremony attended by thousands.
"It gives tremendous healing to the families," Siarnicki said.
In addition to the memorial, the foundation has created a safety initiative called, "Everyone Goes Home." They've produced a training video dealing with the 1994 South Canyon fire in Colorado, which claimed the lives of 14 wind-land firefighters on Storm King Mountain.
The group is working to gather donations to help the families of the fallen Arizona firefighters.
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