South Canyon fire, 15 years ago

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South Canyon firefighters
Photo credit: Post Independent

On the afternoon of July 6, 1994 in western Colorado the South Canyon fire spotted across the drainage and beneath firefighters, moving onto steep slopes and into dense, highly flammable Gambel oak. Within seconds, a wall of flame raced up the hill toward the firefighters on the west flank fireline. Failing to outrun the flames, 12 firefighters perished. Two helitack crew members on top of the ridge also died when they tried to outrun the fire to the northwest. The remaining 35 firefighters survived by escaping out the east drainage or by seeking a safety area and deploying their fire shelters.
For more info:

Final Report of the Interagency Review Team

Fire Behavior Associated with the 1994 South Canyon Fire

Update: The Glenwood Springs Post Independent has an article about the fire.

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