Fallen firefighters were just in NM battling Valles Caldera wildfire

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez says the deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona hits close to home for New Mexico.

Just weeks ago, the Granite Mountain Hotshots from Prescott, Ariz., traveled to northern New Mexico to help battle a fast-moving fire that charred more than 37 square miles of the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

On Sunday, the 19 firefighters — all members of the elite Hotshot crew — were killed when flames overcame them as they fought a wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz., about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Martinez is asking New Mexicans to keep the firefighters' families in their thoughts and prayers. She says the firefighters are heroes who put themselves in harm's way to protect others.

The crew also is being remembered for mentoring members of the Santa Fe Fire Department.