Federal Partners Continue to Support Response Efforts Combating Western Wildfires FS, DOI, DOD, FEMA continue to support efforts to protect life, public safety and aid in community recovery from wildfires and subsequent flash flooding in multiple Western states.
BigNews.Biz - Jul 10,2012 - Federal Partners Continue to Support Response Efforts Combating Western Wildfires
WASHINGTON, - The U.S. Forest Service, Department of the Interior, Department of Defense and FEMA continue to support efforts to protect life, public safety and aid in community recovery from wildfires and subsequent flash flooding in multiple Western states. On June 28, President Obama approved a disaster declaration for Colorado providing additional support to state and local officials responding to the fires, as well as federal assistance for individuals affected by the High Park and Waldo Canyon Fires.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is in Colorado Springs today to see the wildfire response efforts firsthand and thank firefighters, first responders and volunteers for their efforts to battle the fires and support the communities that have been impacted. While in Colorado Springs, Secretary Salazar is attending a briefing with Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, Incident Commander Troy Nelson, and Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team Leader Marc Stamer regarding the federal, state and local response to the Waldo Canyon Fire. Salazar is also touring the Mountain Shadows subdivision with members of the BAER team who are on site to assess damage.
Six Department of Defense (DoD) C-130 aircraft equipped with U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) and under the command and control of U.S. Northern Command continue to assist in the efforts to control fires in the Rocky Mountain region and western United States at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. As of Sunday, DoD aircraft have conducted 145 air drops and discharged more than 380,100 gallons of retardant.
The 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard will hold a private memorial service tomorrow for the four Airmen killed in the crash of a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) equipped C-130. The men died July 1, when their plane went down while fighting a forest fire near Edgemont, S.D.
Currently, 20 large airtankers, including six MAFFS-equipped C-130s, as well as 71 Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) are available nationally to combat fires burning in a number of Western states. More than 8,500 personnel, more than 530 fire engines and more than 65 helicopters are also fighting wildfires around the U.S., supporting state and local efforts.
As federal partners continue to support state and local officials battling the Waldo Canyon fire with more than 80 federal, state and local firefighters, eight fire engines and three helicopters today fighting the fire in the hillsides west of Colorado Springs, the U.S. Forest Service today reported that as the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado was 98 percent contained after burning more than 18,000 acres west of Colorado Springs and destroying over 300 homes. Officials expect the fire to be fully contained in a few days as some firefighters and suppression resources are being redirected to other fires in the West.
The State of Alaska has sent 10 crews to support wildfire suppression efforts in the Western states,