Some 1,100 firefighters were now working to beat back the wildfire behind containment lines. The effort got additional aerial support on Friday in the form of four more U.S. Air Force C-130s. The planes have been dropping thousands of gallons of bright orange flame retardant on the containment lines.
Some fire officials were so hopeful as to suggest the wildfire could be entirely contained within a few days. For others, however, the ordeal is just beginning.
Hundreds of residents got their first definitive confirmation on Thursday night that they had lost their homes in the wildfire. "We had seen some pictures, but the meeting, and seeing so many others in the same situation, just made it all seem real," said Rebekah Largent.
Her family was renting their apartment in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood. But she said she lost her wedding dress and the rocking chair she used to put her baby to sleep.
The White House said President Obama's visit was intended to offer some support to families in a similar predicament, as well as to thank firefighters who are struggling against record wildfires.
The funds announced on Friday will be used to help the state cope with the aftermath of the fire, and also include job and psychological counseling, the White House said.
But the visit to a battleground state just months before the elections was politically sensitive. Local television is already running blanket campaign ads. Colorado Springs, because of the air force base, is seen as a Republican stronghold.
Local officials were insistent that the security preparations for President Obama's visit, which was to include a tour of affected areas and visits with firefighters, would not distract from that progress.
"Colorado Springs does not have the assets to help with the presidential visit," Steve Cox, an adviser to the city's mayor told reporters.
He said there would be limited road blocks and no interruption in airborne fire operations because of the visit.
Intellpuke: You can read this article by Guardian U.S. Environment Correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg, reporting form Colorado Springs, Colorado, in context here: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/29/colorado-wildfires-federal-funds-obama