As seen in the Local Level Newsletter from the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado’s Board of Directors.
As the Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado I would first like to give a big shout out to the U.S. Forest Service, Firefighters, Helicopter and Air Tanker Pilots, Durango Fire & Rescue, Durango Police Dept, La Plata County Sheriff Dept. and all the many volunteers for everything they have done in the last three weeks. Enough cannot be said for everything these men and women have done.
It never seems to fail that all our local agencies and citizens come together in a time of crisis to work so well with agencies from outside our community such as the National Forest Service’s Interagency Hotshot Crews.
In the world of wildland/forest fires, the Hotshot crews are comparable to the military’s Special Forces. These men and women are the most highly trained firefighters in the country. Fresh meals, soft beds, and regular showers are not a part of their job description and yet these people spend as many as 48hour per shift to protect our homes and businesses. In a busy wildfire season, these men and women spend an average of 100 days away from home and families. When I meet these brave people, I shake their hands and make sure that they know we are thankful for all they are doing.
“Firefighters are some of the most selfless public servants you will ever encounter,” – Denis Leary.
It has been heartwarming to see all the signs that have been posted supporting and thanking these exceptional professionals. In addition, we cannot forget to thank all our local agencies and volunteers that have also done an outstanding job during the past three weeks in assisting the firefighters, protecting our families, homes, and answering our many questions.
There is also another side to this unfortunate crisis. The costs of the impact on the local economy, public health, property, ecosystems, and livelihoods, are significant and can far exceed the cost of fighting the fire. The cost of fighting the 416 and Burro fire is as much as 1 million dollars a day. The long-term costs of wildfires continue long after the fire is put out. Damage to property, infrastructure, watersheds, and local economies are often an expensive legacy. Smoke from the fire can have a significant impact on health. Flood risks increase in a post-fire landscape. Revenue from tourism and other area businesses may decline not to mention the possible decrease in property values.
Depending on insurance coverage, a business may recover some of the cost of evacuation when it comes to a Civil Authority order. Policy permitting, because it is an elective coverage, a business may be able to make a make a claim for wages or income lost on a job in the evacuation areas. It is worth a call to your insurance agent. Homeowners that have evacuated should save track all expenses related to their hardship or displacement and contact their insurance agent. Depending on the policy coverage they may be able to make a loss of use claim.
In closing, I would like to mention how uplifting it is to live in a community that comes together in a time of crisis where people set their differences aside to support their neighbors and local businesses.
Thanks again to all the Firefighters, Emergency Services personnel, and our local volunteers.
— Bob Smith, Vice President of the HBASC Board, Owner of Buena Vista Builders, INC.