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BATON ROUGE, La. -- The state's agriculture commissioner has ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff at Louisiana Department of Agriculture facilities in honor of 19 Arizona wildland firefighters.

Commissioner Mike Strain issued the order Monday. The flags will remain lowered statewide through Friday.

The firefighters died Sunday while battling a lightning-sparked fire in and around Yarnell, a town of 700 people in the mountains about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Strain said the firefighters' deaths are "devastating news." He describes wildland fires as some of the most intense, dangerous and unpredictable to battle because they spread quickly.

In a statement Monday, Strain also thanked the men and women who risk their lives to prevent the spread of such fires.


For volunteer, fundraising and other ways to assist those affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire, go to yarnellfallenfirefighters.com.

Associated Press,

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