BOISE — President Joe Biden will travel to Boise on Monday in an effort to survey wildfire damage in the West, the White House announced Thursday.
Biden will visit the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise as part of his first stop in the West. Biden will then head to California with stops in Sacramento and Long Beach, where he will participate in an event with Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. He will complete his tour in Denver.
Biden’s trip follows his visit to states — Louisiana, New York and New Jersey — devastated by storm damage after Hurricane Ida. A White House official said he aimed to increase awareness of climate change’s impacts on communities. Biden will also speak on the economic impacts of extreme weather and the need to invest in resilient infrastructure.
Wildfire smoke in the Treasure Valley has filled the sky this week and brought poor air quality for several days. Wildfires over the summer affected trails and roads.
Wildfire costs for Idaho had already totaled more than $50 million as of August, according to Idaho Reports.
Monday will be Biden’s first visit to Idaho as president. Since President Lyndon Johnson came in 1964, every modern president but Donald Trump has visited the state at least once while in office.
Idaho is also grappling with another COVID-19 surge that has prompted the state to implement crisis standards and ration health care in North Idaho.
When asked whether Biden plans to address the COVID-19 surge, White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday said she expects the president to have a range of conversations with elected officials. Psaki said Biden believes there are additional steps to take to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We know how to return to normal,” Psaki said Thursday. “We know how to keep people safe in schools. We know how to go back to sporting events and do it safely, to get back to concerts and do it safely. And I’m sure he’ll welcome an opportunity to talk about his six-point plan when he’s in Idaho next week.”
Bryan Lowry of the McClatchy D.C. bureau, contributed.