John Bacon, USA TODAY
The Arizona wildfire tragedy that has claimed the lives of 19 firefighters is the deadliest incident for firefighters since 9/11 and the third highest firefighter death toll on record for wildfires, the National Fire Protection Association said Monday.
The collapse of the World Trade Center's twin towers in 2011 killed 341 firefighters. The 1910 Devil's Broom wildfire in Silverton, Idaho, killed 86 firefighters and the 1933 Griffith Park blaze in Southern California killed 29, the association reported.
California has had three of the five most deadly wildfires for firefighters. Besides the Griffith Park fire, the Rattlesnake Fire in the Mendocino National Forest killed 15 firefighters in July 1953 and the Inaja Fire in the Cleveland National Forest killed 11 in November 1956.
In recent years, firefighter fatalities actually have been declining, the NFPA said. The group recently released its annual Firefighter Fatality Report that listed 64 firefighter on-duty deaths in 2012, the second lowest in 35 years. For the past four years, the annual total has been less than 100, dropping the annual average over the past 10 years to 88 deaths, the NFPA said.