Larimer County wildfires burned homes, buildings valued at $55 million

Here’s a link to a Denver Post story.
Below is an excerpt.

While the losses to homeowners are immediate and huge, the effect on the county’s tax base won’t be felt until 2014, Larimer County Assessor Steve Miller said.

Tax collections in 2012 were based on assessments conducted in 2010. The county will be reassessed this year to establish tax collections for 2014. In the meantime, tax bills for 2013 will reflect the fact that homes and adjacent structures burned.

“Say a home was there for five months and gone for the other seven,” Miller said, “we’ll prorate that amount.”

The recovery of lost tax collections will be slow, even if people do decide to return to the burn zone, Miller said.

Unlike the Waldo Canyon fire, which was concentrated in a Colorado Springs neighborhood, rural areas rebuild slowly. He cited the 2002 Hayman fire, which charred 137,760 acres in the mountains southwest of Denver and burned 132 homes.

“A lot of (the Hayman fire) area has still not come back to what it was beforehand, and that was what, 10 years now?” he said.

Another factor that influences how quickly an area recovers economically from a fire is what kind of structures were lost. The Waldo Canyon fire, which ripped through 347 homes in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood, occurred in an area with higher real estate values than rural Larimer County. The value of those lost homes is estimated at $110 million.

“What burned here was some vacant land and some residential,” Miller said. “The Waldo Canyon fire, that burned up some very expensive real estate, whereas we had more moderate and older structures.”

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