All nineteen firefighters killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire were members of the Prescott-based Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite team of wildfire specialists. Hotshot teams are like the Navy SEALs of firefighting.Click here to read more
Here’s what you need to know about this fallen hero…
1. MacKenzie Was a Native of Southern California
He was a graduate of Hemet High, just like his fallen colleague, Billy Warneke. MacKenzie graduated the school in 2001, he joined the U.S. Forest Service in 2004, before moving on to work in Prescott, Arizona in 2011.
2. He Was a Second-Generation Firefighter
His father was former Moreno Valley Cal Fire Capt. Mike MacKenzie. Mike MacKenzie now lives in Tennessee. According to the Press-Enterprise, he was his son’s emergency contact and one of the first to find out that MacKenzie had perished in the fire.
3. He’s a Punk-Rocker
According to MacKenzie’s Facebook page:
You can take the boy away from punk rock .. But you can’t take the punk rock outta the boy !
It’s also reported that MacKenzie was in a band with his brother called, Interim Divine.
4. His Mother Just Had a Brain Tumor Removed
According to the Press Enterprise, MacKenzie had just visited his hometown of Helmet to help his mother who was recovering having just had a tumor removed.
5. Only the Most Elite Can be a Hotshot Crew
The Hotshots are like the Navy SEALs of firefighters. Inter-agency Hotshot Crews are groups that specialize in going into fire areas on foot and removing things from their paths that will help prevent the spread and growth of the fire.
The role of the Hotshot is described as:
The name was in reference to being in the hottest part of fires. Their specialty is wildfire suppression, but they are sometimes assigned other jobs, including search and rescue and disaster response assistance. Hotshots not busy fighting fire will also work to meet resource goals on their home units through thinning, prescribed fire implementation, habitat improvement or trail construction projects.
Crews often need to hike many miles to get to the areas where they will be working, carry all of their supplies on their back, and can sometimes work over 12 hours a day.