Obama heading to fire-ravaged Colorado on Friday

June 27, 2012

President Obama will travel to Colorado on Friday to view damage and meet with emergency responders battling wildfires that have raged across the state, according to a White House statement.

The fires have destroyed homes and forced more than 30,000 residents near Colorado Springs to evacuate. One 6,200-acre blaze, known as the Waldo Canyon Fire, has closed tourist spots and forced the evauation of the U.S. Air Force Academy. The four-day fire is one of eight burning across Colorado, promopted by unusually hot, dry conditions and winds up to 65 mph.

On Wednesday, Obama called Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach for an update on the fires. He pledged federal resources from the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of Interior and FEMA to help local responders.

Seventeen air tankers have been deployed to fight fires across several Western states over the past two days, according to the White House. More than 8,400 personnel, 578 fire engines and 79 helicopters are also in use fighting wildfires across the country; more than half of those resources are in Colorado. The other states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

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