Saturday, June 30, 2012

Colorado Wildfire: Major Disaster

President Barack Obama has promised federal aid for Colorado after the most destructive wildfire in the state's history killed at least two people, destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 to be evacuated.

The US leader said it was a "major disaster" as he saw for himself the damage caused by the huge blaze that has raged since Tuesday near the base of the Pikes Peak mountaintop.

During a three-hour visit to Colorado Springs, he first witnessed the devastation from the air on board Air Force One and then toured neighbourhoods ravaged by the so-called Waldo Canyon Fire.

He met firefighters and local officials and visited an emergency shelter operated by the American Red Cross, where he told volunteers "you guys are making us proud".

As he walked along a street full of burned-out houses, the president told reporters: "This has been a devastating early fire season for Colorado. This community, obviously, is heartbroken by the loss of homes."

Mr Obama announced that federal money would be made available to local agencies and individuals affected by the fire. Read More