Two members of President Obama’s cabinet told Northern Rockies residents Tuesday to clear away debris and prepare their properties for fires.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the effort to protect homes and property was a collaborative one. Residents need to take responsibility themselves to protect their homes.
They spoke with reporters Tuesday afternoon at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, where the nation's wildfire-fighting efforts are coordinated.
“If you haven't cleared your property, if you haven't prepared your business and your home for fire, this is the time to do so,” Napolitano said.
The two toured the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs Tuesday morning and the NIFC in the afternoon. The Waldo Canyon Fire destroyed more than 350 homes while here in Idaho the Charlotte Fire burned 66 homes and 29 outbuildings in Pocatello.
But Vilsack, whose department oversees the U.S. Forest Service, pointed to the thousands of homes that have been saved — 1 percent of the ones in the high-risk area in Colorado, he said.