Biden to investigate damage from Colorado wildfires and provide comfort to victims
President Joe Biden heads to Colorado to bring comfort to residents struggling with the reconstruction of homes and businesses destroyed last week by a rare winter fire
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Friday pledged to bring comfort to Colorado residents struggling with rebuilding homes and businesses destroyed last week by a rare wind-whipped winter fire that swept through a pair of suburbs heavily populated between Denver and Boulder.
Two people are still missing out of some 35,000 people driven from their homes.
Biden and his wife, Jill, were traveling to Boulder County to assess the damage. The president was scheduled to meet with Governor Jared Polis and local officials who oversaw the aftermath of the blaze, as well as residents affected by the blaze, and deliver remarks.
Before leaving the White House, Biden described the destruction as “horrible to God.”
The fire broke out exceptionally late in December after months of drought with a dry fall and very little snow in winter. Almost 1,100 buildings, mostly houses, were destroyed, causing damage estimated at $ 513 million.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Investigators limited their search for the cause to an area near Boulder where a passer-by captured video of a burning hangar on December 30, when the blaze started. But it could still take authorities weeks to figure out how it started.
Most of the destroyed buildings were houses. But the fire also burned down eight businesses in Louisville and neighboring Superior. Federal, state, and local agencies and nonprofit organizations provide housing assistance, counseling, food, allowances, and other assistance to residents.
Last year, Biden made several trips to study the aftermath of weather events, including ice storms in Houston, wildfires in California, and flooding in New York and New Jersey.
In mid-December, he visited residents of Dawson Springs, Ky., After a series of tornadoes swept through that state and seven others, killing dozens.
After inspecting the scene in Colorado, Biden and the first lady were due to travel to Las Vegas to attend Saturday’s funeral for Harry Reid, the former Senate Majority Leader.
Reid died last week after a years-long battle with cancer at the age of 82. He and Biden had served together in the Senate.