Nightly News   |  July 04, 2013

Community mourns firefighters as flames spread in West

A community in Arizona remembers 19 fallen heroes in the Yarnell Hill blaze as winds fan more fires in the West. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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>> hundreds of firefighters still battling a massive wildfire in arizona. people remembered the 19 who lost their lives. miguel almaguer joins us from prescott.

>> reporter: the yarnell hill fire is still active, but no longer the threat it used to be. hundreds of evacuees will return back home, but it will always be remembered for taking the lives of 19 firefighters. on this day of celebration, the city of prescott pays tribute to their heroes, in the small community where the victims weren't just names, but neighbors, a town draped in red, white and blue flies flags at half staff for 19 days, a salute to the 19 firefighters, amanda marsh, remembered her husband eric today.

>> he was the most amazing person i have ever met in my life. he was strong, but he was so compassionate.

>> reporter: tonight, the fire fight in arizona and across the west is far from over. for air attacks and ground teams this is no holiday. 37 large wildfires rage across the region, 715,000 acres up in smoke. wind driving many of these infernos.

>> the wind blows, we get big fires. if it doesn't, they lay down like this and we're able to start picking them up.

>> reporter: a ba brrr and after look at yarnell. 120 homes gone, nearly half of the community wiped off the map.

>> reporter: here on tuesday, they will mourn a much greater loss. firefighters across the country will salute their fallen brothers. a single blaze cost one city a quarter of its fire department .

>> we are practicing being firemen.

>> william served his country in iraq and his community as a granite mountain hot shot. leaves behind a wife, who is expecting the couple's first child in december.

>> when he wanted to do something, he stuck with it, got his goals where he wanted them and he was doing what he wanted to do when he was out on that fire.

>> reporter: tonight, families leaving their loss as a community honors their service. firefighters hope to have this blaze fully contained by next week. on tuesday, a massive public memorial for all 19 men. carl.

>> miguel, thanks.