Durango and Silverton businesses may be approached by state officials in the next couple of weeks seeking to document their losses related to the 416 Fire.
At least five businesses must be able to show lost income related to the fire for the U.S. Small Business Administration to declare a disaster designation, said Micki Trost, spokeswoman with the Colorado Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
“We’re working with the local business community, and going business-to-business to document the fallout from the fire,” Trost said.
Businesses share their average June income and compare that with the income they received during the fire to prove harm. The data will be compiled in project worksheets to be submitted to the SBA.
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad alone canceled 31,000 reservations for the month of June. And the train runs to Silverton are not expected to resume until at least July 12.
Two of the five businesses needed to prove lost income for the SBA’s disaster designation have already been completed, Trost said.
The state has 120 days from the start of the fire on June 1 to apply for SBA disaster status to gain access to the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
If Economic Injury Disaster Loans become available, they could provide a loan of up to $2 million to a small business hurt by the fire. Terms could be as long as 30 years and the interest rate would not exceed 4 percent.
Besides being available to small businesses, the loans would be available to small agricultural cooperatives and private, nonprofit organizations.
Dan Nordberg, regional administrator of the Small Business Administration Region VIII, said his office has been in contact with Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management about an application by the state to seek SBA disaster status.