Wind-Whipped Arizona Wildfire Kills 19 Firefighters

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
July 2, 2013; 7:11 AM ET
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A wildfire in Arizona has left 19 firefighters dead after weather conditions caused the fire to rapidly spread.

It has been reported by the Associated Press that 19 firefighters have lost their lives Sunday when the fire quickly picked up momentum.

This rapid shift in momentum was caused by strong wind gusts that developed on Sunday afternoon. Winds gusted as high as 30 mph at the time.

According to the Incident Information System, lightning is the cause behind the fire that ignited on Friday, June 28 near Yarnell, Ariz.

The lightning that sparked the wildfire was caused by a dry thunderstorm that moved through the area on Friday afternoon. During a dry thunderstorm, the humidity near the ground is so low that the rain evaporates before it reaches the ground.

Lightning from these storms can still strike the ground, easily igniting vegetation.

Story by Meteorologist Brian Lada. Image on homepage courtesy of


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