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Updated Jul 8, 2013 - 7:48 am

Final Word: Firefighters' deaths rallying Arizonans

As the towns of Yarnell and Prescott try to heal from the loss of 19 of their finest firefighters, we are forced to think about the last moments of the lives of these young men.

It's awful to try to imagine what must have gone through their minds as they realized they weren't going to get out. And its been heartbreaking hearing from the families of the fallen, so many of them not much more than kids themselves, in their early 20s. And yet most of the hotshot team members had kids of their own or were expecting children.

So the donations to the 100 Club of Arizona and Red Cross are crucial. These are young families, most of whom were just starting out. But let's look at the bigger picture, too, and recognize that we live in an extreme climate that has experienced 20 years of drought.

In these mountain communities, a fire can grow and turn deadly fast. Those firefighters died trying to save property in Yarnell. It makes you wonder about the wisdom of putting people in harm's way when it seems stopping a fire like this is nearly impossible.

Whatever it takes, whether it's good programs for forest thinning or fighting these fires from the air alone when conditions are so bad... I don't know. It just seems senseless to sacrifice such young lives like the ones we lost.

On the upside, it's been gratifying to see the outpouring of support for the firefighters' families. It's a shame we have to see it, but from the Valley's sports franchises, to local businesses, to just the person you run into at your neighborhood restaurant, those firefighters are on everyone's minds.

My husband and son ate breakfast at a Waffle House Tuesday morning on Interstate 17 (it's their favorite place!) and all the servers were wearing "Yarnell 19" buttons. They were taking donations and people were giving.

Arizona has come together because of this tragedy.

Let's hope it lasts.

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

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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