Ahead of visit, Obama designates Colorado a disaster area

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DENVER — President Barack Obama Friday signed a disaster declaration for Colorado, enabling more federal dollars to flow to help the state fight an unprecedented wildfire season.

The order, which comes just hours ahead of Obama’s scheduled visit to the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, will allow state and some local agencies to receive aid that will pay for temporary housing help, FEMA assistance, debris removal and repairs and restoration to publicly-owned facilities.

The declaration is for El Paso County and Larimer County, where the High Park Fire, the second largest in Colorado history, has been burning for weeks.

Also Friday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it will speed federal disaster assistance to Colorado and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes due to the ongoing High Park and Waldo Canyon wildfires.

President Obama is set to arrive at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs around noon Friday and will spend an hour or two touring the fire lines.

Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, will be with the President aboard Air Force One.

It’s likely to be an awkward flight given that Lamborn, who survived a primary challenge on Tuesday, made headlines earlier this year for his decision to skip the President’s State of the Union address.

Last year, he also apologized after likening the President to a “tar baby.”

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