My Lost Brothers: The Untold Story by the Yarnell Hill Fires Lone Survivor by Brendan McDonoughThe true story behind the events that inspired the major motion picture Only the Brave.
A unique and bracing (Booklist) first-person account by the sole survivor of Arizonas disastrous 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, which took the lives of 19 hotshots--firefighters trained specifically to battle wildfires.
Brendan McDonough was on the verge of becoming a hopeless, inveterate heroin addict when he, for the sake of his young daughter, decided to turn his life around. He enlisted in the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters based in Prescott, Arizona. Their leader, Eric Marsh, was in a desperate crunch after four hotshots left the unit, and perhaps seeing a glimmer of promise in the skinny would-be recruit, he took a chance on the unlikely McDonough, and the chance paid off. Despite the crews skepticism, and thanks in large part to Marshs firm but loving encouragement, McDonough unlocked a latent drive and dedication, going on to successfully battle a number of blazes and eventually win the confidence of the men he came to call his brothers.
Then, on June 30, 2013, while McDonough--Donut as hed been dubbed by his team--served as lookout, they confronted a freak, 3,000-degree inferno in nearby Yarnell, Arizona. The relentless firestorm ultimately trapped his hotshot brothers, tragically killing all 19 of them within minutes. Nationwide, it was the greatest loss of firefighter lives since the 9/11 attacks.
Granite Mountain is a gripping memoir that traces McDonoughs story of finding his way out of the dead end of drugs, finding his purpose among the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the minute-by-minute account of the fateful day he lost the very men who had saved him. A harrowing and redemptive tale of resilience in the face of tragedy, Granite Mountain is also a powerful reminder of the heroism of the people who put themselves in harms way to protect us every day.
'Hotshot' Firefighter Wildfire Survivor Brendan McDonough Interview: 'I Miss My Brothers'
The Only the Brave true story reveals that, like in the movie, the wildfire was caused by a lightning strike on June 28, , approximately 1. The town, which is located roughly 80 miles northwest of Phoenix, has a population of approximately citizens. A "hotshot" is a firefighter who fights fires with fire instead of water.
The Story That “Only the Brave” Leaves Out
Brendan McDonough was part of the elite team of firefighters, called the Granite Mountain Hotshots, that battled a massive wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. In his first interview since the disaster, McDonough told Good Morning America that he has "asked a million times why am I sitting here and why aren't they sitting here with me. In June, the Yarnell wildfire quickly grew out of control, and shifting winds sent the flames in the direction of McDonough's colleagues. The fire overtook them, and all 19 of the hotshots battling the flames died. They deployed their emergency shelters at the last minute, but it was too late. McDonough has since had to go on without his team.
But their home, with its metal roof and stucco walls, survived unscathed. In the days following the fire, their ranch became a vital access point for recovery workers and later for fire officials who investigated the tragedy. More: Granite Mountain Hotshots: An untold story from the day 19 firefighters died. Their eyewitness account sheds new light on what happened in those early hours. We've got 19 dead firefighters up on the hill.
It was one of the deadliest U. It was also the most fatal incident of any kind involving U. It is the sixth-deadliest American firefighter disaster overall, the deadliest wildfire ever in Arizona,  and at least until , was "the most publicized event in wildland firefighting history. An evacuation shelter was set up at Yavapai College in Prescott , with members of the Red Cross providing cots and blankets for overnight stays, along with meals and medical assistance. On June 30, 19 firefighters with the Prescott Fire Department 's interagency Granite Mountain Hotshots were overrun and killed by the fire.