Travis Turbyfill, or “Turby” as he was known to his friends, died at 27 years old on Sunday, June 30. He was one of the 19 elite Granite Mountain Hotshots who died this weekend fighting the deadly Yarnell Hill Fire as it spread through central Arizona outside of the city of Prescott.
Here is what you need to know about this brave firefighter, warrior and father:
1. He Was a Marine
According to Travis Turbyfill’s mother, Coleen Turbyfill, her adopted son served in the Marine Corps. He, along with a few other Granite Mountain Hotshots including Billy Warneke and Jesse Steed, served in the Marine Corps before joining up with the Hotshots.
2. He Was a Husband and Father of Two
Turbyfill married his wife Stephanie in 2009 and had two daughters, one is currently 3 and the other, only 1.
3. He Replaced an Old Member Whose Girlfriend Objected
One of the more frequently told stories about the 27-year-old Turbyfill is how joined with the Granite Mountain Hotshots. He reportedly replaced a former member who quit because his girlfriend complained to him about the job, presumably the danger.
4. He Worked Out But Loved Ice Cream
Like Travis Carter, Turbyfill was one of the Hotshots that frequented the Captain Crossfit gym. According to one of the trainers at the gym, Turbyfill had recently been telling people at the gym that would be lessening his workout routine because it was “blizzard week” at the ice cream chain Dairy Queen.
5. Only the Most Elite Can Be on 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.