President Barack Obama departed Washington Friday to see firsthand the damage caused by wildfires ravaging Colorado.
Obama, who departed Washington shortly after 11 a.m., earlier signed a federal disaster declaration to aid the response to fires that have already been rated as some of the most destructive in Colorado history.
According to the White House, more than 340 homes have already been consumed by the blazes and upwards of 32,000 residents have been evacuated.
The disaster declaration, which the White House indicated Obama signed shortly after midnight, makes federal funding available to the state and certain eligible local governments, as well as some non-profit organizations, to defray the costs of responding to the fires.
The present declaration covers El Paso and Larimer Counties in Colorado though the White House noted that Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are continuing to assess damages in other areas and further federal assistance may be forthcoming.
Obama is scheduled to meet with first responders and firefighters who have battled the fires during his visit to tour the damage before returning to Washington Friday evening.
by RTT Staff Writer
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