Panetta Commends Jacoby
for Northcom Fire Assistance wildfires affecting Colorado Springs and
the U.S. Air Force Academy
June 28, 2012
In an afternoon call to the commander
of U.S. Northern Command, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta commended
Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr. for leading the Defense Departmentís
effort to support the fight against Coloradoís raging wildfires.
The secretary also commended National Guard and Northcom support to the
National Interagency Fire Center based in Boise, Idaho, which
coordinates firefighting efforts.
C-130 aircraft equipped with a modular firefighting system drops
retardant on a section of the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs,
Colo., June 26, 2012. Four of these aircraft, assigned to the Air
Force's 302nd and 153rd airlift wings, are helping civil authorities
combat the fire. The 302nd Airlift Wing is based on Peterson Air Force
Base, Colo., and the 153rd Airlift Wing is part of the Wyoming Air
National Guard. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Thomas Doscher
Jacoby updated Panetta on the effort to quell wildfires affecting
Colorado Springs and the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the secretary
instructed the Northcom commander to provide assets to the extent they
are needed by federal or state authorities.
The Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs has burned more than 18,500
acres of land, forcing the evacuation of at least 32,000 people and
threatening more than 20,000 structures in the area, including many
homes of military families.
C-130 aircraft equipped with U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire
Fighting Systems have so far flown 47 sorties dropping more than 100,000
gallons of fire retardant.
Acting under immediate response authorities, the Army has provided
bulldozers, other heavy equipment and hundreds of soldiers to cut fire
breaks. Twenty two fire trucks from five military bases, including the
academy, have joined the effort. Military personnel are providing
housing, meals and medical care at temporary shelters on Peterson Air
Force Base and Fort Carson.
Panetta praised the Colorado Springs community for its resilience during
the crisis, and Jacoby noted that the academy remained open to
in-process the class of 2016.
The secretary concluded the call by asking Jacoby to keep him informed
as firefighting efforts continue.