BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – Wildfires in Colorado this summer have made national headlines, and there are concerns fewer people will visit our state because of it.

Many businesses in the high country were bracing for another low turnout of tourists for the holiday weekend, but it didn’t turn out that way.

Fireworks shows were canceled in virtually every mountain town in 2012, and some did the same this year. But for the central mountains, the lessening fire danger helped kick up tourism big time.

Some resorts in Breckenridge were expecting nearly a 15 percent increase in occupancy over last year, and those numbers do not include last minute vacationers who decided to come beat the heat in the high country.

That translated over for a number of business owners, including recreation rentals like bikes and restaurants. Such places were packed over the holiday weekend, and some were still packed even on Monday.

“(With the 4th) falling on a Thursday this year, a lot of business owners including Eric at Downstairs at Eric’s has commented it’s one of the strongest years they’ve seen in a few years,” Rachel Zerowin of told CBS4. “The lineup of events, combined with the fireworks and great weather, businesses saw a very strong weekend.”

Breckenridge is exceeding the trend in Western U.S. destinations, but the story is still a positive across the board. Most areas are seeing an increase of about 7 percent over last year for the early summer.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit’s Wildfire Resources section.

– Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.


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