President Barack Obama will visit wildfire-plagued Colorado Friday to thank firefighters and show his support for the state’s use of federal resources to help extinguish dozens of giant blazes that have stretched across the state.
According to Yahoo! News, more than half of all active federal fire-fighting personnel, fire engines, and helicopters are trying to contain the inferno.
The initial blaze, the High Park Fire in northern Colorado, was ignited by lightning strike June 9, and has become Colorado’s second most destructive fire ever, charring more than 3,000 acres, 248 homes, and causing one death, according to The Denver Post. Four people have died due to wildfires in Colorado this year.
In Colorado Springs, the state’s second-largest city, the Post reported that the Waldo Canyon Fire nearly doubled its flames overnight June 25, causing 32,000 residents to evacuate the area, including the United States Air Force Academy. On Monday, four military aircraft released 3,000 gallons of fire retardant over the firestorm. Waldo Canyon resident Kathleen Tillman told reporters that it was pitch black when she was driving.
“This is a very bad day,” Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach told the Post.
Obama called Bach and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to express his concern, according to the White House. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president will be “updated regularly” on the fires.