MESA COUNTY, Colo. — Colorado U.S Senator Cory Gardner was on the Western Slope this morning discussing the Rocky Mountain Team Black’s plan of attack with the Pine Gulch Fire. The massive fire has been burning for 13 days, and officials say the weather’s dry conditions will cause the blaze to grow.
The fire team has 6 helicopters and 745 personnel fighting flames North of Grand Junction. Senator Gardner says the firefighters have the adequate resources to put the burn out, and Tracy LeClair, from the Pine Gulch fire team, confirms with the Colorado Senator. Even so, Senator Gardner adds, “Obviously, you wish you had 20 times more people, tankers, and everything, but [the fire team] believes it has what they need at this point.” And in the case the Rocky Mountain Team Black requires more resources Senator Gardner says, “We are going to fight every tooth and nail for every resource that they need. So if the incident management team says they need something , I’m going to be banging down the doors to make it happen.”
Western Colorado is not new to defending massive fires. However, over the past decade Congress would run out of money fighting these flames. In turn, money would be consumed from other budgets. Yet, the Wildfire Borrowing Fund changes that. The Wildfire Borrowing Fund has earn wide bipartisan support. It treats wildfires similar to other natural disasters, and there is over a $2 billion emergency fund dedicated to fighting these wildfires. Therefore, Congress no longer needs to pull money from other budgets. Senator Gardner says the fund acts as a cushion for the uncertainty that the wildfires can be as seen by the Pine Gulch Fire.