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The Real Cost of Austerity can be measured in lost effectiveness, lost property, and even lost lives.

Axe a few budgets over here, fail to staff up over there -- and pretty soon you're talking about real harm.

Official:  19 Firefighters Possibly Saved Had Air Tankers Responded

ABC News investigates the aging fleet of firefighting airplanes.

by Brian Ross, James Gordon Meek, and Cindy Galli via World News -- Sept. 10, 2013

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.

The incident highlights an increasingly critical shortage of large air tankers used to fight wildfires across the country. An ABC News investigation found that the federal fleet of the planes has shrunk over the last decade from 44 to 11.

Group Photo:  The 19 firefighters who died in the Yarnell wildfire in Arizona.

Click it.  That is the very real cost of Austerity.  

With the current trends and long-term predictions for such ravaging infernos, on an ever-increasing dangerous upward track -- to take more lives, more property, and more our natural forest resources,

-- wouldn't it make wise economic sense to be increasing those budgets, and staff, and the equipment available of these brave public workers, instead of cutting them to the bone, with our haven't-got-a-clue Congressional Budgetary Steamroller ?

Being penny-wise but dollar-foolish, still leaves us all looking pretty stupid in the end. And all with so many more untold prices, just waiting being exacted. As we proceed with our Austerity-Business as Usual.

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