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City of Prescott celebrates Fourth of July, Yarnell Hill Fire victims

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PRESCOTT, AZ (CBS5) -

Thousands in Prescott gathered at Pioneer Park to celebrate the Fourth of July while also celebrating the lives of the 19 men lost while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire.

The evening ended with a solemn tribute: 19 purple fireworks, one launched for each man killed.

Throughout the afternoon, the celebration of the lives of those men was front and center for many in the crowd.

"We're celebrating our country and the people that protect our country," said Christina Johnson, who lives in Prescott.

"The people that passed away were honorable men, and they died to protect us and our property. We should honor them," she continued.

Most in the crowd wore red, white and blue, but purple ribbons could be spotted on many.

"Prescott is a wonderful city, full of caring people. I think (the tragedy has) brought the town together more than it was before," said Johnson.

Perhaps that togetherness was most obvious at a small tent that stood at the entrance to the ball fields. Prescott firefighters sold shirts there for $15. Every cent went to the families of those lost.

Meanwhile, on the front lines of the wildfire, crews worked to get full containment on the blaze. It's now at more than 80 percent.

"The thing is everybody here wants to be here. They want to put this fire out. They want to end this. That is kind of their respect to the fallen," said Carl Schwope, an operations section chief near Yarnell.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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