Hotshots couldn't reach safety zone

| Friday, July 5, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — An erratic wildfire driven by ferocious and shifting winds curled around the location of a team of Arizona Hotshot firefighters, cutting off their access to a safety zone and making a death trap that quickly consumed them, two fire officials confirmed on Friday based on a map of how the tragedy unfolded compiled by The Associated Press.

The map shows that the 19 highly trained Hotshots were just over a quarter of a mile northwest of the safety zone using chain saws, axes and other gear to build a line between the wildfire and the small town of Yarnell on Sunday. But the fire, which was northeast of the team, suddenly changed directions after the winds shifted nearly 180 degrees and cut off their access to the safety zone, a large ranch property.

The map gave the most detailed picture about their location and how close to safety they appeared to be.

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