President Barack Obama declared a "major disaster" in Colorado Friday, releasing federal funds to help pay for the estimated $30 million in wildfire damages.
The massive blaze has burned more than 26 square miles of Colorado Springs this week and claimed the life of at least one person. Police are working to track down a handful of others who are unaccounted for.
"Whether it's fires in Colorado or flooding in the northern parts of Florida, when natural disasters like this hit, America comes together," Obama said after touring a neighborhood leveled by the wildfire.
"We all recognize that there but for the grace of God go I. We've got to make sure that we have each others' backs," he added.
Better weather conditions Thursday night through Friday are helping firefighters who have contained at least 15 percent of the blaze.
Aerial pictures show the painful reality residents are dealing with. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate and hundreds of their homes have been reduced to ash.
While greeting firefighters and other first responders, the president assured them, "The country is grateful for your work. The country's got your back."
Obama's appearance in Colorado, a swing state, also took on added significance less than five months before the Nov. 6 election.