Arizona

Jul 2, 2013 8:58 PM by Associated Press

Higher humidity helps firefighters near Prescott

NEAR PRESCOTT - Higher humidity overnight helped make conditions at the deadly Yarnell Hill Fire less dangerous, according to officials.

The blaze still has no containment and thunderstorms with a lot of lightning are a major threat because of dry vegetation, fire spokeswoman Karen Takai said.

Approximately 500 firefighters are on the scene and more are on the way.

Nearly 8,500 acres have burned in the Yarnell Hill Fire, which is about 13 square miles.

Meanwhile, investigators are in the Arizona mountain town of Yarnell to figure out why 19 elite firefighters perished in an out-of-control wildfire and whether human error played a role in the tragedy.

The investigation will look at whether the Hotshot crew paid attention to the forecast, created an escape route and took other precautions developed after a similar disaster in Colorado nearly two decades ago.

The team of about 10 investigators from various agencies also will look at whether the crew should have been pulled out before the fire exploded on Sunday.

Yavapai County authorities said about 200 homes and other structures burned in Yarnell, and hundreds of people have been evacuated.

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