posted on Sep, 11 2013 @ 06:16 PM
A report has come out that said that if the Forest Service had been able to get the firefighting aircraft requested to the Arizona fire that killed 19
firefighters, they may have been able to save them. They said that if they had been able to get an aircraft on scene they might have bought the
firefighters 10 more minutes to get somewhere safer than they were.
The Forest Service requested six aircraft to help fight the fires. One was dispatched in response, and it had to turn around because of engine
problems, while on the way to the fire. The other five aircraft, including 2 DC-10s were held back due to weather, or to fight another fire.
They also have access to six C-130s from the Air Force if all other tankers are in use, but they can only be used when all other options are
In the last ten years the federal firefighting fleet has gone from 44 aircraft to 11. There have been nine studies in that time urging an immediate
naming of new aircraft, and nothing has been done. No one can answer why in a time when there are more fires, and they're bigger every year, the air
tanker fleet has been shrinking and no one will do anything about it.
Meanwhile, they have proposed spending $1B on new air tankers, but have yet to win over Congress or the White House on the plan.
I guess it is going to take more deaths, and the federal air tanker fleet to drop to 0 before anyone will do anything.
The 19 firefighters who died in the Yarnell wildfire in Arizona this summer might have survived had any of the six U.S. Forest Service air tankers
requested by the state arrived on the scene, a senior fire official told ABC News.
But only one plane, a Korean War vintage aircraft, was dispatched to help and it had to return to base because of engine problems.
"It may have bought them ten minutes to get to a little safer place than where they were," Prescott, Arizona, Wildland Division Chief Darrell Willis
told ABC News in an interview aired on "World News With Diane Sawyer" and "Nightline." Willis spoke not far from where the men he hired, trained
and with whom often fought wildfires perished in a field of chapparal scrub brush.
"If they'd had ten more minutes, they could have made it. That crew was totally fit. There's no question in my mind that they would've made it,"