Thursday, June 21, 2012

Colorado Wildfires - #3991 - Michelle Malkin: How Obama Bureaucrats Fueled Western Wildfires - Townhall (2) VIDEO: Colorado Wildfires Signal One of the States Worst Seasons Ever - USA Today

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Michelle Malkin - The smell of singed air here is inescapable. Less than 50 miles west of my neighborhood, the latest wildfire has spread across 1,100 acres. It's the fifth active blaze to erupt in our state over the past month. But ashes aren't the only things smoldering. The Obama administration's neglect of the federal government's aerial tanker fleet raises acrid questions about its core public safety priorities. Bipartisan complaints goaded the White House into signing a Band-Aid fix last week. But it smacks more of election-year gesture politics: Too little, too late, too fake. Ten years ago, the feds had a fleet of 44 firefighting planes. Today, the number is down to nine for the entire country. Last summer, Obama's National Forest Service canceled a key federal contract with Sacramento-based Aero Union just as last season's wildfires were raging. Aero Union had supplied eight vital air tankers to Washington's dwindling aerial firefighting fleet. Two weeks later, the company closed down, and 60 employees lost their jobs. Aero Union had been a leader in the business for a half-century. Why were they grounded? National Forest Service bureaucrats and some media accounts cite "safety" concerns. But as California GOP Rep. Dan Lungren noted in a letter obtained by reporter Audrey Hudson of the conservative D.C. newspaper Human Events last year, a Federal Aviation Administration representative said it was a contractual/compliance matter, not safety, that doomed Aero Union's fleet. Read more.......

As merciless wildfires blaze throughout the West, exhausted firefighters are bracing for more. Colorado is on the brink of one of its worst fire seasons in history, blamed on very high temperatures and a very low snowpack, which left mountains tinder-dry. After 10 punishing days, the largest fire here, the High Park Fire near Fort Collins, was 55% contained Tuesday night, according to Brett Haberstick of the Interagency Wildfire Dispatch Center. It has incinerated 189 homes; almost 2,000 are still threatened. It has burned 93 square miles; 1,911 firefighters are trying to halt the destruction. Cost so far: $17.2 million. The fire was set by lightning June 9. Several other fast-growing fires have broken out in the state. Gov. John Hickenlooper has banned outdoor fires and all fireworks except municipal displays.  Read more...... AW:  Authorities are keeping residents and all media away from most of the fires, stating it is for their safety, but residents are frustrated over the lack of information as to the status of their homes.  No filming of burning homes is being allowed, residents in this video say they don't care whether it is the media or authorities giving them information, they just want to know the status of their homes.

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