Biden surveys New Mexico wildfires from on board Air Force One


Biden surveys New Mexico wildfires from on board Air Force One as residents demand answers about blazes that began as controlled burns in April but have spun out of control and torched 600,000 acres

  • President Joe Biden surveyed New Mexico wildfires from on board Air Force One Saturday before touching down in Albuquerque
  • He’s being briefed about the ongoing threat by responders in Santa Fe
  • Biden is also slated to meet privately with victims of the natural disasters
  • There are now more than 4,000 wildfire personnel on the ground in the state fighting the blazes 
  • Reporters on board Air Force One were able to see billowing smoke coming from several fires and also chunks of charred landscape 

President Joe Biden surveyed New Mexico wildfires from on board Air Force One Saturday before touching down in Albuquerque for a briefing in Santa Fe on the ongoing threat. 

‘There’s an expression where I came from. God made man and then he made firefighters,’ Biden said. ‘They’re all crazy,’ he added, garnering laughs.  

He’s also slated to meet privately with victims of the natural disasters. 

Reporters on board Air Force One were able to see billowing smoke coming from several fires and also chunks of charred landscape. 

The president remarked that ‘Air Force Oneis so damn big we couldn’t go in’ so the presidential aircraft flew the perimeter.  

A group of New Mexico residents sued the U.S. Forest Service this week arguing the federal government didn’t disclose information about controlled burns that turned into the Hermits Peak blaze. 

More than 600,000 acres in New Mexico have burned, gobbling up 1,200 homes. 

Biden talked about how controlled burns ‘99.8 per cent go as planned’ but this one potentially did not.

‘Today I am announcing the federal government is covering 100 per cent of the cost,’ the president said. 

President Joe Biden surveyed wildfires over New Mexico before getting briefed on the ongoing threat in Santa Fe Saturday. Reporters on board Air Force One with the president were allowed to capture the billowing smoke coming from several hillsides

President Joe Biden surveyed wildfires over New Mexico before getting briefed on the ongoing threat in Santa Fe Saturday. Reporters on board Air Force One with the president were allowed to capture the billowing smoke coming from several hillsides

Air Force One flew over several sites in New Mexico where wildfires were currently burning

Air Force One flew over several sites in New Mexico where wildfires were currently burning 

A view out Air Force One's window of wildfires in New Mexico. The president stopped in his state on his way back to Delaware from Los Angeles, where he has been since Wednesday hosting the Summit of the Americas

A view out Air Force One’s window of wildfires in New Mexico. The president stopped in his state on his way back to Delaware from Los Angeles, where he has been since Wednesday hosting the Summit of the Americas 

President Joe Biden (right) hugged New Mexico's Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (left) upon arrival at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico

President Joe Biden (right) hugged New Mexico’s Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (left) upon arrival at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico 

The Hermits Peak fire, which is currently the largest in New Mexico, is now 66 per cent contained, the White House said Saturday, ahead of Biden’s meetings. 

There are now more than 4,000 wildfire personnel on the ground in the state fighting the blazes. 

The president approved a disaster declaration in early May. 

Upon Biden’s arrival he hugged the state’s Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and grabbed the hand of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who was masked after recovering from a recent bout of COVID. 

As the president stepped off Air Force One in Albuquerque, it was a balmy 99 degrees.   

Biden made the New Mexico stop after spending three days in Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas, the U.S.-hosted gathering of the leaders of North, Central and South American nations. 

While there, Biden also attended two high-dollar fundraisers in Brentwood and Beverly Hills, and did a sit-down with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. 

President Joe Biden spoke to reporters Saturday morning from the tarmac at LAX encouraging March for Our Lives attendees to 'keep marching'

President Joe Biden spoke to reporters Saturday morning from the tarmac at LAX encouraging March for Our Lives attendees to ‘keep marching’ 

On Saturday morning, after arriving at LAX on Marine One, Biden took questions from reporters including on the March for Our Lives, which was taking place in Washington, D.C.  

‘Keep marching – it’s important,’ he said. ‘This has to become an election issue – the way people listen, senators, congressmen, is when people say this affects my vote.’ 

He also said he was ‘mildly optimistic’ about the Senate’s ongoing discussions on gun reform. 

The president also told reporters he hadn’t made up his mind about taking a trip to Saudi Arabia. 

After he departs New Mexico Saturday he’ll head home to Wilmington, Delaware for the rest of the weekend. 

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