LOUISVILLE, Colo. – President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Colorado on Friday to see the destruction caused by a December grassland fire that destroyed more than 1,000 homes.
High winds and dry conditions allowed a grassfire near Marshall Road in Superior, Colorado to rapidly spread on Dec. 30, quickly overtaking communities, prompting more than 30,000 to evacuate.
While Colorado has experienced some of the largest wildfires in its history in the last few years, the Marshall Fire happened in an urban and suburban community.
About 2,000 homes in the communities of Superior and Louisville are in the burned area, but Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said due to the fire's chaotic movements, not all of those homes were lost.
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Snowfall the day after the blaze helped contain the remaining hotspots. Officials said the Marshall Fire scorched 6,000 acres.
According to Boulder County emergency management officials, 1,084 homes destroyed by the fire and residential property damage was estimated to be at least $513 million.
President Biden and the First Lady spoke with the first responders and victims, some of whom lost their homes and their pets in the firestorm.
Teams are still working to verify additional damages caused by the wind event that allowed the fire to spread rapidly.
According to emergency managers, debris cleanup is underway and a priority for Boulder County. It becomes complicated when so many homes are part of the cleanup area, and people want to look for belongings that might have survived the fire.
"There were many homes destroyed and damaged, and we know this is not just debris. What remains is part of your home, possessions, and memories," Boulder County OEM wrote. "We empathize with you and understand that you are all anxious to take the first step to rebuild your homes."
The county is working with state, FEMA and local leaders to coordinate debris removal.