Aerial Firefighting Fleet Sufficient, Safe

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The federal official who directs national forest policy says a long-term plan on the country's aerial firefighting program will be out by year's end and resources for this summer are --quote "safe and sufficient."

Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey has sent a letter responding to questions from Colorado Congressmen Mark Udall and John Salazar, both Democrats. They say Rey promised a long-term plan by spring.

Udall and Salazar have said they're concerned that the plan won't be ready until after the worst of the fire season is over.

Fires erupted last week in Western Colorado. A small blaze in Mesa destroyed three homes, damaged a fourth and scorched 10 acres.

An 1,800-acre fire a few miles west of Glenwood Springs forced the evacuation of 90 homes and threatened others. No homes burned.

In California, a wildfire on the southern edge of Lake Tahoe Monday destroyed more than 200 buildings and forced the evacuation of hundreds of people.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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