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Orange County firefighters to perform at Hotshots' memorial in Arizona

July 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Orange County Fire Authority's Pipes and Drums group is set to perform at a memorial service Tuesday in Prescott, Ariz., for the 19 firefighters killed while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Dozens of local firefighters were in Irvine Monday morning, getting ready to head to Arizona. The Pipes and Drums group has played at events like parades and memorial services all over the country. Division Chief Kris Concepcion, who is the band's director, says they are always ready for an event like this.

"We're honored and humbled to be able to be making this trip," he said.

Sixteen members of the Pipes and Drums will be making the trip, as well as six members from the Honor Guard and another 20 or so from the Orange County Fire Authority, Concepcion said.

The firefighters of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed a week ago in the Yarnell Hill fire, sparked by lightning on June 28. Crews were closing in on full containment after the fire destroyed more than 100 homes in Yarnell and burned about 13 square miles. The town remained evacuated, but residents were expected to be allowed to return home on Monday. Full containment was expected by July 12.

A funeral procession made its way from Phoenix to Prescott Sunday morning. Thousands of people lined the roads along the 125-mile route to pay their respects. Inside each hearse were the American flags that were draped over the men's bodies at the site of their deaths in Yarnell. The flags will remain with the men until they're buried. After that, the flags will be given to their families.

Vice President Joe Biden will attend the memorial service, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday. The firefighters will then be laid to rest in Prescott at funerals throughout the week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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