Colorado Springs Blaze 70 Percent Contained, But Some Tankers Grounded

Jul 3, 2012
Originally published on July 3, 2012 11:47 am

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET: The Associated Press reports that "the military says six Air Force tankers are resuming firefighting flights after a deadly crash of one tanker over the weekend. U.S. Northern Command says the flights will resume Tuesday."

As you'll see in our original post below, earlier today seven such tankers had been grounded. It's not yet clear why one plane apparently isn't being put back into use fighting the wildfires in western states.

7:40 a.m. ET. Some important updates on the wildfires out west:

-- The Waldo Canyon Fire that has destroyed about 350 homes in and around Colorado Springs, Colo., since it began 11 days ago is now 70 percent contained, according to authorities.

Colorado Springs' The Gazette reports one "major breakthrough" came when firefighters doused "a hot spot near the Cave of the Winds that had worried [them] for several days, said Greg Heule, a spokesman for the fire crews."

Crews have also been aided by "cooling clouds and a touch of rain over the fire," the newspaper says.

The Waldo Canyon blaze has caused at least two deaths.

Colorado's other major wildfire — the High Park blaze in Larimer County — is now 100 percent contained. It destroyed about 260 homes. At least one death has been associated with that fire.

-- "The deadly crash of a military cargo plane fighting a South Dakota wildfire forced officials to ground seven other Air Force air tankers, removing critical firefighting aircraft from the skies during one of the busiest and most destructive wildfire seasons ever to hit the West," The Associated Press writes.

"The C-130 from an Air National Guard wing based in Charlotte, N.C., was carrying a crew of six and fighting a 6.5-square-mile blaze in the Black Hills of South Dakota when it crashed Sunday, killing at least one crew member and injuring others."

As CNN adds, though, there are "dozens of helicopters, large air tankers and other aerial equipment that have and will continue to be used in battling fires."

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