(WASHINGTON) — President Obama announced that he will travel to the fire-plagued areas of Colorado this Friday to, “view the damage and thank the responders bravely battling the fire.”
Obama told Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach about his plan to visit in a phone call Wednesday afternoon. Obama called Hickenlooper and Bach, “to receive an update on damaging fires that are impacting a number of communities across the state, including the devastating Waldo Canyon fire that is affecting families, homes and businesses in Colorado Springs,” the White House said in a written statement.
“The president expressed his concern about the extent of damage to homes in the Colorado Springs area,” the statement read.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated that the administration has been focused on the massive wildfires that have been burning throughout the West.
“The president is being updated regularly,” Carney said. “More than an 8,400 personnel, 578 fire engines and 79 helicopters are operating on wildfires around the United States. More than half of federal wildfire-fighting resources are currently stationed in Colorado,” he said.
The statement also added that, “seventeen air tankers have cycled in and out of firefighting action over the last 48 hours across the western states.”
The White House says federal support is also being provided to local officials battling fires in Alaska, Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
“The president made clear that he has directed his team to remain focused on the fires. He asked the governor and the mayor to identify any additional resources that could be provided and informed both that his thoughts and prayers are with responders and families impacted by these and other fires burning across the western United States,” the statement read.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, Joshua Berlinger and Ashley Fantz, CNN
Doug Criss, CNN