BOISE -- Across the West dry conditions are leading to huge wildfires.
In Colorado Springs, the Waldo Canyon Fire has destroyed 346 homes. Four wildfire managers from Boise are there helping contain the massive fire.
And while hundreds of firemen battle on the front lines, at the National Interagency Fire Center crews coordinate and allocate resources.
Tuesday afternoon, two top officials with the Obama administration toured the Boise facility to get a firsthand look at how it all works.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spent about two hours at NIFC. Both said how impressed they were with the collaboration that goes on here.
The two cabinet members arrived in Boise around 1 p.m. Gov. Butch Otter was on hand to greet them. Napolitano and Vilsack then both attended a private briefing with federal, state and local officials. Afterward they met with members of the media and both talked the importance of defensible space.
"If you haven't cleared your property and created some space around it, if you haven't cleared your business and made some defensible space, now is the time to do so," said Napolitano.
"We can come together to reduce the risk here," said Vilsack. "The government can provide resources for thinning and resources for restoration. Homeowners can think about their individual properties in a way that will potentially increase the chance that their home will no be impacted and affected."
Here are some of the things we learned today. There are currently 11,400 personnel on the fire lines of large fires burning across the country. There are 28,000 fires currently burning across the U.S. compared to 35,000 at the same time last year.
So far this year, 1.8 million acres have burned, compared to 4.5 million last year.
While there is not as much activity as this time last year, the fires this year have been especially difficult to fight. We learned the Colorado Springs fire moved four different directions in four days, and it is hard to stay on top of erratic fire behavior like that.