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Investigative Report: 19 Firefighters Possibly Saved Had Air Tankers Responded

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U.S. Forest Service tanker fleet down 75% from 44 tankers a decade ago to only 11 now. 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. (abcnews.go.com) Más...

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wx1996
wx1996 7
It is sad they are fighting to keep the current system. They have had a great answer for some time they do not want as it will "kill jobs". Look at the 747 tanker proposal below. Truth be told the large tankers need a local with a smaller plane to guide them in to the fire. So they get to keep the jobs flying the old museum aircraft. Had one of the 747 tankers been far away on call in Salt Lake Utah both Colorado Springs fires could have easily been but out the first day and hundreds of homes would have been saved. But politics and bureaucracy keep that from happening. Why must a fire near a major city become be allowed to grow for three days before federal resources can be used. These large Jumbo tankers should be available while the fire is small and starting to extinguish it before it is larger. The special interest of all involved in the process is a sad waste or our money. If I remember the number reported by local TV stations correctly, what was spent fighting the two fires in Colorado Springs would more than pay for two of these tankers and operate them for several years.

http://www.evergreenaviation.com/supertanker/faq.html
http://www.evergreenaviation.com/supertanker/
http://wildfiretoday.com/2010/12/03/evergreens-747-supertanker-deployed-to-fight-fires-in-israel/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvBRWTumoZI
dherman
Doug Herman 3
True that. Look how effective the two converted DC-10s have been at dumping huge amounts of retardant on fires in a single pass. I know, it costs money. But some of our desert boneyards are full of retired heavies - 10s, L1011s, 747s that could be had cheap to nearly free. We seem to have money for everything else, from extraneous wars to extraneous social programs. How about spending just a little to solve this. (Footnote: We Southern Californians feel a lot more threatened by 200,000 acre wildfires than we do by terrorists or undocumented aliens...and over the years, we've accumulated the thousands of chimneys where homes used to stand to prove it.)
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
Thanks for these links. Very informative.

With the Evergreen supertanker, there is little excuse to let US Forest Service tanker responsiveness drop so precipitously.

They should contract with Evergreen or build their own supertankers, with all the surplus 747s around and available cheaply.
wopri
Looks like for some politicians saving jobs comes before saving lives.
mfcdvm
Michael Curley 6
Let's send both houses of congress to go and fight the wildfires. Then we will see how fast the forest service gets their new tankers.
canuck44
canuck44 2
They might take a lesson from the Newfoundlanders that didn't go through "channels" when they needed on to put out the fire at the scene of a tanker truck crash shown here recently.
Daveroo
ok a few things..first Evergreens 747 is parked less two engines,shes not going to do any fire fighting.there was also a problem with the 747 and the drop pattern,which is why the contract wasnt picked up after the first attempts,it also had a problem with its speed while dropping,and the height,they need to be between 250 and 150 agl,and 130-150kts,and they couldnt do it,airtanker ten company over came the same issues and now are active.neptunes BAe-146s were parked for a short time due to retardant trail problems aswell.
but ill tell you a secret here..when Aero Union got shut down,it was over a paper work issue,i know this because the man at AU is a personal friend of mine and was responsible for said paperwork,it was done properly and legally,and approved by the FAA,yet the USFS man refused it and by his refusal that forced the FAA to also ground all the P3s,once grounded and AU was out of business,the man at the USFS quit his job and went to Lockheed martin,waited the proper time period ( theres a legal time thing) and then he,as a Lockheed martin salesman rep,proposed to the USFS and congress an program to have the USFS purchase 20-25 brand new C-130J-30's to be tanked internally and dedicated to firefighting....at this point,his plan got shot down because of the surplus C-27Js,which is also why the new generation air tanker plan is stalled and our western wildland is burning.dont believe me?....dig deep on the net..its all there.
blueashflyer
blueashflyer 2
Personally, I am against forest fires. They need to be stopped.
wopri
Smart! LOL Let's bomb them into oblivion! :)

Here in the province of Québec we get huge fires, they are part of the natural cycle in our boreal forest. On average a given area burns from natural causes once every 100 years. As long as it's not a danger to humans, settlements or powerlines we just let it burn. If you stop fires in that area it just means more fuel for the next. We have a decent fleet of superscoopers, and there are so many lakes that turn-around time is seldom more that 15 minutes. At least two superscoopers are leased to California each year for their fire season, as ours is mostly in May.
HunterTS4
Toby Sharp 1
"Only you can prevent forest fires."
tcmarks
Tim Marks 1
Arizona was a red state in the last election. No federal aid during a catastrophy (fire tankers & 'federal' smoke jumpers) or afterwards (no FEMA aid) is the result. The White House wants to keep the disasters coming so the 'nanny' state can be perpetuated and make sure all of the 'have-nots' are standing in the governement handout line - Marxism at its best!
Derg
Roland Dent 1
For some of us over in Europe this story is hard to swallow. The USA has all the reources both physical and human to save lives and well being and yet they sit unused. I don't pretend to understand how this lunacy comes about. Seems to me you guys need to change a few priorities.
bbabis
bbabis 1
A few! Ya think? Forrest fires don't affect Washington, DC and the places they do affect have little population and voting power. Therefore, even the loss of 19 young firefighters is just a yawn in DC. The money spent on obamaphones would have more than paid for new aircraft but aircraft won't get you the votes.

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