President Biden will visit Colorado today to tour the Marshall Fire damage in Boulder County. Biden will be joined by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Rep. Joe Neguse on the tour. The devastating impacts of the firestorm that engulfed nearly 1,100 homes and structures continue to reverberate: Colorado authorities found partial human remains in the search for two missing people; families are searching for pets lost during the evacuation; musicians lost instruments that are in some cases their livelihood; the sufficiency of insurance coverage is in question; and water supplies are threatened.
Officials said Thursday the fire caused at least $513 million in damages, and the Wall Street Journal reports total losses are expected to reach more than $1 billion. Although many homeowners have enough insurance to rebuild, two-thirds of fire victims typically are underinsured — a dynamic exacerbated by the scope of the damage and high construction costs. More widespread, however, is the drinking water crisis set off by the fires and suppression efforts. In some places, the fires damaged or destroyed water lines, and firefighters used so much water battling the fires that water systems now lack sufficient pressure — leaving drinking water vulnerable to contamination and bacteria. (Biden: Colorado Public Radio; Insurance: Wall Street Journal $; Water: (Colorado Public Radio)(E&E $; Pets: AP; Musicians: Colorado Public Radio; Current damage estimate: AP; Search: Denver Post; Climate Signals background: Marshall Fire)