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416 Fire & Our Rallying Community

Posted by Kelly Kniffin on July 9, 2018
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The 416 Fire has offered Durango and all of La Plata County and surrounding areas some ups and downs in regards to fire restrictions, trail closures, tourism changes, and more. Throughout this hard time though, our community has lots of positive notes to celebrate despite the natural disaster. In my experience, even our real estate markets persist! 

Truthfully, the majority of the major insurance companies have put real estate quotes on a moratorium all through the 81301 zip code. I find this approach a bit extreme considering the amount of real estate completely unaffected by the 416 Fire. 

With this approach, I researched and found a few companies willing to insure homes – even in the pre-evacuated areas. Homes continued to sell and close all through this fire! If you find yourself in a real estate bind due to the 416 fire, I would love to be a resource! 

Even so, I warned each of my incoming buyers with a suggestion that they postpone their visit; however, they continued with their plans and made offers on homes. I’m thankful for their willingness. It is wonderful to see the enthusiasm of Durango transplants in the midst of this challenge for our community.  

Fires are a natural piece of high desert living. Our community is vivacious, and Durango will persist through this natural event! Specifically in real estate, even if a lot is scorched by fire, the value may not change. Some values and views even improve in fire seasons. 

In August of 2002, I bought a home in the Animas Valley just as the Missionary Ridge fire was simmering. Did the property value decline? No! The following years included some of the highest home values we have ever seen in La Plata County – including the popular Animas Valley. The scorched mountains to the east did not affect our activities or quality of life. The red rock cliffs merely shined a bit more, and our mountain living continued! 

While golfing at Glacier Club did temporarily close due to mandatory evacuation, golf at Dalton Ranch has continued all through the summer and fire season. As the restrictions have lifted, I recently played a round of golf at the Valley course at Glacier over the weekend. While the western hillside is scorched, many beautiful views are fully intact and made for a quality afternoon. 

The 416 fire continues to burn in the forest and will do so until the much anticipated monsoons begin. The rains are expected to arrive in mid-July. While we have some smoky skies at times, mid-day winds help to clear them for all our mountain hobbies. I anxiously await the end of these unseasonably hot days, the sound of aircraft dousing the distant flames, and the necessary fire restrictions to protect our community. 

However, mostly, I am grateful for all the amazingly dedicated fire fighters totaling 1,100! They saved structures and protected our homes. La Plata County has rallied around firefighting efforts, and I am so grateful to be a part of our beautiful and resilient community. 

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