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Wildfires continue to ravage southwestern states

Arizona is battling a wildfire that stretches over 7,300 acres of land and claimed the lives of 19 firefighters.
Arizona is battling a wildfire that stretches over 7,300 acres of land and claimed the lives of 19 firefighters.

A massive wildfire that started in Prescott, Arizona, a town about 100 miles northwest of Phoenix, claimed the lives of 19 firefighters Sunday night, according to Bloomberg. As of Monday, it has spread over 7,300 acres predominantly in Yarnell, a small town with about 700 people.

The blaze started on Friday by a lightning strike near Prescott. The city's fire department ordered a 20-person team of the Granite Mountain Hotshots to battle the flames. The sole survivor was warding off flames in a different location.

Fire departments in Yarnell ordered full evacuations in Yarnell and Peeples Valley. In accordance to the the plan, 15 miles along Highway 89 were closed on Sunday. This stretch only consists of 50 homes, but there were at least 450 homes still on stand-by as of Monday afternoon, according to USA Today. Residents were told to use Highway 93 or 17 instead, reported the Daily Courier.

In the midst of the evacuations, many individuals were admitted to the Wickenburg Community Hospital for smoke inhalation and fire-related injuries.

Arizona was experiencing a severe heat wave and strong, hot winds, with pre-monsoon weather conditions that did not help the situation. Last month, Arizona residents spent a week educating one another on protect themselves during monsoon season. 

During emergency situations, having a thorough continuity of operations plan is crucial for towns of all sizes. Business continuity consultants who specialize in these matters can help city leaders provide plans for households and emergency responders.