Nineteen firefighters were killed in a fast-moving wildfire in the central Arizona town of Yarnell late Sunday afternoon, said the incident command post.
Eighteen of the victims were from the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots, fire officials said. It's not known where the other victim was based.
One surviving Hotshot member was in a truck moving equipment when the other members were overtaken by the fire.
"We're an organization and city that's in grief," Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said at a news briefing Sunday night.
"Every precaution is always taken," Fraijo said. "The trouble is sometimes it's such an erratic situation. When you have that much fuel, in those dry conditions, it becomes very unpredictable."
At least eight firefighters suffered injuries and were taken to Wickenburg Community Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Roxie Glovers. The extent of their injuries was not known.
The Yarnell Hill Fire burned at least 250 structures, command center officials said Sunday night.
However, Judi Kioski of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management on Monday said only 50 residences were destroyed but 500 were threatened by the fire.
"This one just got out of hand quickly," said YCSO spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn. "The winds and the dry area just fed the fire.
Earlier, the 19 firefighters battling the blaze in Yavapai County had not been heard from as the wildfire headed into town, fire officials said.
Around 6 p.m., authorities said they were unable to establish communications with them, although they had been seen from a helicopter.
The Granite Mountain Hotshots were among the first firefighters to attack the human-caused Doce Fire that began June 18 in the Prescott National Forest, the Prescott Daily Courier reported.
Earlier Sunday, authorities evacuated the Town of Yarnell and Peeples Valley as the wildfire crept closer to homes, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said.
The evacuation area in Peeples Valley is west of Highway 89, north of Yarnell Road and south of Sorrell Road, sheriff's deputies said.
Residents living in Double A Ranch, Buckhorn and the Model Creek subdivision in the Yarnell area had been under mandatory orders to leave their homes.
About 400 people live in Yarnell, and several hundred reside in Peeples Valley, according to the latest census.
The fire has closed about 15 miles of State Route 89, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The roadway is closed just north of Congress to south of Kirkland, from milepost 269 to milepost 285. Drivers traveling north or southbound are advised to use U.S. 93 or Interstate 17 as alternate routes.
Sheriff's deputies said there are roadblocks at the junctions of Highway 89 and Hayes Ranch Road, Hayes Ranch Road and Sickles Ranch Road and Buckhorn and Frontier Road.
The fire broke out Friday after a lightning strike about four miles from Yarnell, said Arizona State Forestry Division Spokeswoman Carrie Dennett.
The Yarnell Hill Fire grew to 800 acres by early Sunday afternoon.
Two evacuation shelters have been set up to help evacuees. One is at Yavapai College in Prescott at 1100 E. Sheldon St., the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter said.
Another shelter has opened in the gymnasium at Wickenburg High School at 1090 S. Vulture Mine Road. The Red Cross opened that shelter because a 20-mile stretch of Highway 89 is closed, making it impossible for evacuated residents to get from Yarnell to Prescott.
Red Cross volunteers have set up cots and blankets for overnight stays, with evacuated residents receiving meals, as well as assistance from Red Cross nurses and mental health volunteers.
A shelter for large animals is set up at Hidden Springs Ranch, at 18701 Highway 89 in Peeples Valley.
Two hundred firefighters are trying to gain an upper hand on the wildfire.
A command center has been set up at Model Creek School.
The next news briefing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday in the Prescott city council chambers.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.
[Text BREAKING to 23765 to get news alerts on your mobile phone]
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
UPDATE19 firefighters dead in Yarnell wildfireMore>>
Sunday, April 20 2014 12:25 PM EDT2014-04-20 16:25:32 GMT
Authorities are investigating a convenience store shooting.Raytown police were called to a QuikTrip in the 8700 block of East 63 Street about 1:30 a.m. Sunday after reports that a person that had beenMore >
Authorities are investigating a convenience store shooting.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 9:53 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:53:24 GMT
The police department's statements detail their use of GPS tracking, surveillance and the help of tips from the public that led to the eventual arrest of Mohammed Whitaker, the man suspected of being theMore >
Court documents detail how new-age technology, old-fashioned police work and observant eyewitnesses led to the capture of the man that authorities say was responsible for a string of highway shootings that terrorized the area.More >
Sunday, April 20 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-04-20 13:36:54 GMT
One person is in the hospital after a car crash on Interstate 70. It happened near Lee's Summit Road early Sunday morning and involved multiple vehicles. Police had to shut down a section of the interstateMore >
One person is in the hospital after a car crash on Interstate 70 in Independence. More >
Sunday, April 20 2014 4:21 PM EDT2014-04-20 20:21:47 GMT
Authorities said a death investigation is underway in a KCK neighborhood.Kansas City, KS, police were called about 12:40 p.m. Sunday to the 700 block of North 70th Terrace.No other details were immediatelyMore >
Authorities said a death investigation is underway in a KCK neighborhood.More >
Fire officials say a lightning-caused blaze hasn't threatened any structures but charred an estimated 600 acres on a large ranch in southeastern Arizona. Sonoita-Elgin Fire District Battalion Chief KevinMore >
Cochise County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Carol Capas said Sunday afternoon the O'Donell Fire about 3 miles southeast of Elgin was at 65 percent containment.More >
Thursday, April 17 2014 7:50 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:50:39 GMT
Arizona wildfire restrictions
The U.S. Forest Service is planning to enact fire restrictions Friday, about one month earlier than normal. Campfire and smoking restrictions will take effect at 8 a.m. on the Coconino, Kaibab, PrescottMore >
Campfire and smoking restrictions will take effect at 8 a.m. on the Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto National Forests.More >
Monday, April 14 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-04-15 03:27:03 GMT
Fisher Fire in Arizona
A wildfire reported Friday afternoon southeast of Flagstaff has spread to 150 acres. The Fisher Fire is located on Fisher Canyon area approximately six miles from Flagstaff, according to the U.S. ForestMore >
The fire was at 145 acres Monday afternoon and was human caused, according to fire officials.More >
Thursday, April 10 2014 9:27 PM EDT2014-04-11 01:27:16 GMT
Arizona Public Service reassured customers Thursday that it's prepared to meet customer demand as summer heat and wildfires loom. "With nearly 20,000 miles of overhead power lines around the state, theMore >
Arizona Public Service reassured customers Thursday that it's prepared to meet customer demand as summer heat and wildfires loom.More >
Tuesday, April 8 2014 6:14 PM EDT2014-04-08 22:14:58 GMT
A former Yarnell volunteer firefighter said it was possible to put out the deadliest wildfire in more than three decades, when it was still just a wisp of smoke. Meantime, CBS 5 Investigates found stateMore >
A former Yarnell volunteer firefighter said it was possible to put out the deadliest wildfire in more than three decades, when it was still just a wisp of smoke.More >
Wednesday, March 26 2014 8:33 PM EDT2014-03-27 00:33:45 GMT
The Yarnell Hill Fire took the lives of 19 firefighters on June 30, 2013.
An Arizona Senate committee has approved a bill that would grant the state immunity from lawsuits similar to those filed after last year's deadly Yarnell Hill Fire. House Bill 2343 was amended to requireMore >
An Arizona Senate committee has approved a bill that would grant the state immunity from lawsuits similar to those filed after last year's deadly Yarnell Hill Fire.More >