Created: 06/19/2014 8:04 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Not a day goes by anymore that operation section chief Darrell Willis does not wear his heart on his sleeve. Not a day goes by that he'll ever forget those 19 men who worked for him on Prescott’s very own hotshot crew that he built, and who sacrificed their lives in late June 2013, during an Arizona wildfire that left them with no escape.
That's why the fight to put out the fire in Assayii Lake is so significant for Willis and all the people who are working alongside him.
He talked about how their strategy on the ground and in the sky here is working.
“We're building a direct line, we're going right to the mineral soil, right up next to the fire, and we're just following it out," said Willis
Willis explained how the crews built a contingency plan in the past few days allowing them safely to get out should conditions suddenly get worse.
At one point, Willis thought he'd set his career aside after that awful day last June, but the memory of his 19 friends who gave their lives for this job is why he'll never quit.
"I believe that I knew them well enough to know that they wouldn't have wanted me to walk away."