President Biden to tour Marshall Fire burn area on Friday

President Joe Biden will be in Boulder County on Friday to tour the area where the Marshall fire destroyed nearly 1,000 homes and businesses and burned more than 6,200 acres.

Accompanying Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic U.S. Rep Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, the president will survey the damage and discuss “urgently needed federal support,” according to a news release from Neguse’s office.

White House officials confirmed the visit on Wednesday morning. Further details were not immediately provided.

Biden already approved a request from Polis on Saturday to declare the fire scene a major disaster, unlocking federal relief dollars.

“We cannot expect our communities to bear the burden of this disaster on their own,” Neguse said in a statement Wednesday. “We must bring the full force of the federal government to bear as our communities work to rebuild and recover.”

The Marshall fire started burning on Dec. 30 in a neighborhood near Colorado 93 and Marshall Road in eastern Boulder County. Driven by hurricane-force winds, it became the most destructive fire in state history in a matter of hours, destroying 991 homes and businesses in Superior, Louisville and unincorporated areas, according to county officials.

Another 127 buildings were damaged. In Superior, entire neighborhoods were consumed.

Prior to last week, 2013’s Black Forest fire was the most destructive in state history when it came to property damage. It destroyed 489 homes and other buildings.

The president’s disaster declaration on Saturday made Boulder County residents eligible for support from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA money can be used for temporary housing costs, home repairs and uninsured property losses, among other expenses, the agency said in a news release. Even people who are unsure of their eligibility are encouraged to apply. Registration information is available at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362.

FEMA officials will also be working with the state and local governments to determine needs for infrastructure repairs, an agency official Monday.

Biden spoke with Polis about the fires by phone on Friday, Dec. 31, according to a White House news release. According to the White House summary of the call “the President assured him that every effort will be made to provide immediate help to people in the impacted communities.”

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