DENVER — President Barack Obama will fly to Colorado Springs Friday to tour the scene of the Waldo Canyon Fire, which continues to ravage homes and forest on the edge of Colorado’s second most populous city.
The President called Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach on Friday to be updated on the fires burning across the state and to inform them of his plan to visit the fire lines Friday, the White House confirmed.
“The President reiterated his administration’s focus, through the US Forest Service as well as the Department of Interior and FEMA, on continuing to bring all resources to bear to assist local responders in Colorado and a number of Western States currently being impacted by fires,” according to the White House.
“Seventeen air tankers have cycled in and out of firefighting action over the last 48 hours across the western states. More than 8,400 personnel, 578 fire engines and 79 helicopters are operating on wildfires around the U.S., with more than half of active federal wildfire-fighting resources are currently staged in Colorado.”
Hickenlooper flew by helicopter to the command post at the Waldo Canyon Fire Tuesday night and said that this is likely the worst fire season in Colorado’s history, surpassing 2002 when the Hayman Fire exploded south of the Denver metro area.
“If I could issue an executive order for rain, I would,” Hickenlooper said Tuesday night.
Politically, the fire offers Obama a chance to be on the ground in a key swing state assuming the responsibilities of actually being President.
Further, with the Supreme Court set to issue its ruling on the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, traveling to the fire lines on Friday offers the President an opportunity to attempt to turn the page should the Court rule part or all of his landmark healthcare law to be unconstitutional.