Fired up

When it comes to supporting firefighters, local residents are all on board. Tuesday night, residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of a tax increase for the Durango Fire Protection District, with 73 percent of city voters and 70 percent of county voters saying yes.

Almost 4,000 city residents and 4,800 county residents voted on the issue. The measure, which will go into effect in 2018, will raise personal property taxes by 2.5 mills, an increase of $72 per year for a home assessed at $400,000.

It is the first tax increase for the fire district, which serves a large swath from San Juan County, Colo., to the New Mexico border, since 1997. Over that time, the workload for Durango Fire and Rescue has increased exponentially, going from just under 4,000 calls in 2012 to more than 5,500 so far this year.

The tax will bring in $3 million a year to help pay for equipment, capital projects and staff, including 24 more full-time first responders. The proposed new downtown fire station is being funded separately.