Obama to Visit Fire Damaged Areas in Colorado

Posted June 28th, 2012 at 7:20 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama will travel to Colorado Friday to view the destruction caused by a massive wildfire that has destroyed numerous homes.

About 35,000 residents in Colorado Springs, the state's second largest city, have been forced to flee homes since Tuesday, when the Waldo Canyon Fire suddenly began raging out of control. Two residential communities on the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Academy have also been evacuated, but the academy still plans to welcome 1,000 new cadets on Thursday.

More than 7,400 hectares of land have been consumed, but authorities say they have not confirmed exactly how many homes have been lost, due to the intense flames that have made it difficult to assess the damage.

The Denver Post newspaper has released an aerial photograph that shows approximately 300 home have been destroyed.

The Waldo Canyon Fire started last Saturday in Pike National Forest. Several days of hot weather have fueled the fires, with daytime temperatures soaring above 37 degrees Celsius. The FBI is investigating whether criminal activity led to the fire.

The Waldo Canyon Fire is one of several massive wildfires that have raged across much of the western United States in recent weeks, including one in northern Colorado that has consumed 35,000 hectares, destroyed at least 250 homes and killed one woman. One person has been confirmed dead in a wildfire in the state of Utah.