Records: Firefighters' bodies found in 'moonscape'

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By BRIAN SKOLOFF, Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — Records obtained by The Associated Press provide a glimpse into the difficult attempts to reach 19 firefighters who died battling an Arizona blaze last month and the gruesome scene at the site.

According to reports from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, rescue personnel found a scene of sheer devastation described as a "moonscape."

The heat was so intense only the metal part of one chain saw was found, and just the head of a pickax was discovered near the men's bodies.

Pilots first reported that thick smoke, intense heat and blowing ash were making it too difficult to land near the site. Once the helicopter was able to touch down, rescue personnel found the firefighters "burned beyond recognition."

The blaze ended up destroying more than 100 homes before it was fully contained on July 10.

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