Official sources said the firefighters were members of an elite team, who were supposed to dig a fire line and create an escape route. Most of the members were from Prescott, said sources in the Prescott fire department.
Authorities said generally during digging a fire line, the firefighters ensure that there is an escape route and a safety zone. In case of the ill-fated firefighters in Arizona, their safety zone wasn't just strong enough against the blaze, considered the deadliest in three decades.
The crew was battling the Yarnell Hill fire, which hbroke out on Friday and the blaze has spread over 1,000 acres, damaging homes and forced residents to evacuate. Authorities suspected that lightning sparked the blaze.
So far, 43 firefighter fatalities have been reported so far these year, apart from the 19 deaths, the US fire authorities said. The number was 83 last year.
A Facebook page was created in memory of the Arizona firefighters on Sunday night. Condolences and support poured in for the departed souls on the page.