Waldo Canyon Fire 80-percent contained; Feds promise support
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — One week ago Tuesday, an explosion of flames went running thru defending firefighters, and destroying everything in its path in a number of Colorado Springs neighborhoods.
An elderly couple died in the firestorm that destroyed nearly 350 homes.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those are dealing with the aftermath of this horrific event,” says U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during a visit to Colorado Tuesday.
The Waldo Canyon Fire was 80 percent contained Tuesday night, and rain was falling in Colorado Springs.
Federal officials came to town and promised every avenue of support to help thousands recover from Colorado’s recent destructive wildfires.
A criminal investigation is underway into what started the Waldo Canyon Fire.
“If it’s found to be a fire that was caused by a human being, yes, the federal government through the FBI and other investigatory resources will begin trying to identify who were the perpetrators and their motivations,” says Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Many homeowners at first questioned response to the fire and a slight delay in deployment of federal resources. But longtime experts inside and outside firefighting say the erratic blaze was almost impossible to attack.
“We had what we needed, we did the best we could,” Vilsack says. “It’s true we lost hundreds of homes and for that our heart goes out. It’s also true that thousands were saved and we’re thankful for that.”
FEMA crews are already working to make more assistance available to fire victims. But the threat of more catastrophic fires loom. “This is an important heads up for our community,” says Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach.
People are warned to immediately mitigate fire danger around their homes, and to get flood insurance.
“All of you folks who live in these foothills from Cheyenne Mountain up to the Air Force Academy please take heed,” Bach says.
With the potential of monsoon rains in the coming days, there is concern about possible flooding in burn zones on the way.