President Obama approved a disaster declaration for Colorado Friday and traveled to Colorado yesterday (Monday) and today to meet with state and local officials on wildfire response efforts and thank those helping fight the fires. An Army battalion at Fort Carson in Colorado is being trained by the Forest Service and Department of Interior to help fight the fires. The declaration made by the President on Friday ensures federal funding is available to state and local governments – along with certain private non-profit organizations – for emergency protective measures. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also has approved two more Fire Management Assistance Grants for fires in Utah and Wyoming.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have directed federal land managers to take additional measures to reduce the risk of new wildfires and prioritize safety for firefighters and communities by prohibiting the use of fireworks on government-managed lands in Western states. This restriction will be in effect until July 8th. As the U.S. celebrates its independence – Vilsack says the aggressive wildland fire fight continues. He wants to thank the thousands of men and women battling the fires. He wants everyone to be extra cautious while following open flame guidelines and to review fire prevention guidance at www dot nifc dot gov (www.nifc.gov).