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Hundreds of Dakotas Firefighters Serving in West

FILE: Firefighter, Fire Department, Helmet
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – Some South Dakota firefighters back home after helping battle wildfires in Arizona say the deaths of 19 elite firefighters there is a reality check.

Eric Boe with the South Dakota Wildland Fire Division’s Black Hat Hand Crew tells KOTA-TV the possibility of dying on the job makes firefighters think of their loved ones.

Twenty firefighters on the crew are home after two weeks in Arizona. Hundreds of others from South Dakota and North Dakota are helping battle wildfires in the West.

Two of the 19 firefighters who died in Arizona on Sunday had ties to South Dakota. Kevin Woyjeck served on a crew based in Rapid City and Custer State Park from November 2011 to August 2012. Dustin Deford graduated from Cornerstone Bible Institute in Hot Springs three years ago.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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