Round-Up: Senator Udall talks federal response to the Waldo Canyon Fire

August 10, 2012

Senator Mark Udall says the federal response to the Waldo Canyon Fire serves as a good example of how agencies can work together. The comment comes after a meeting yesterday known as an After Action Review with forest officials, the military, and other firefighting agencies.

Udall called the fire an extreme incident, and says that while concerns have been raised regarding the timing of federal air support, he says he’s confident the C-130 planes were launched as soon as they could be. Still, Udall says they need to continue examining the entire air fleet.

"What we’ve heard over and over again from incident commanders not only here in Colorado, but in New Mexico, in Utah, and now up north where the fires are is that there are enough aircraft available, but they are concerned about the age of the fleet and in some cases, the capabilities of the fleet."

The Senator also says he wants to take a closer look at the Economy Act of 1932 and see if it can be modified. The law requires the use of commercial assets before the federal government can deploy its resources.

"What’s behind that law was to ensure that the private sector could compete to provide services and products. It makes sense, but it may have worked against us or could work against us in the future."

Udall also highlighted the importance of preventative and proactive measures, including creating defensible space, saying the best way to fight a fire is to prevent it from starting and spreading in the first place.