Yarnell Hill Fire: Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake say fire raises big issues

PRESCOTT, AZ - Arizona's two senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, spent an emotional day in Prescott talking to evacuees and the families of 19 firefighters who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire last weekend.

The senators spoke with the media Friday afternoon and said the fire brings up some big issues.

They said wildfires are getting more destructive across Arizona and at the same time resources are being cut.

They say now is the time to take action.

"We know that in the olden days fires swept through and didn't do the damage they do now and we need to clear these forests and make sure the damage is not as catastrophic," Sen. John McCain said.

McCain said restoration projects are necessary to protect our forests and Arizonans from fires like the one that was sparked by lightning a week ago.

But instead, McCain and Flake warned cuts are coming due to sequestration.

They say the Forest Service and Department of the Interior face $150 million in cuts to wildfire suppression efforts, meaning wildfire agencies will hire 500 fewer firefighters this year and lose 50 fire trucks.

Flake says helping out wildland firefighters needs to be a priority in Washington.

"To make sure that we move legislation to save our forests and save our communities and save our firefighters from this kind of incident in the future," he said.

The senators are trying to get the Yarnell Hill Fire declared a national emergency to get more federal funding.

Meantime in Prescott, the memorial to the 19 firefighters lost continues to grow.

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