Barack Obama has expressed his condolences to the families of the 19 firefighters who died battling an Arizona wildfire.
The US President said the firefighters were heroes and highly skilled professionals who “put themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of fellow citizens they would never meet”.
Mr Obama, who is travelling in Africa, says the federal government would be in close contact with state and local officials in Arizona to provide support.
The firefighters – members of an elite crew fighting a forest fire north-west of Phoenix – were overtaken by a fast-moving blaze stoked by hot winds yesterday.
The fire also destroyed some 200 homes.