Top 5 stories on, week of July 19 |

Top 5 stories on, week of July 19

Logan Blakenship, superintendent of the Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew, communicates with firefighters working the Dice Hill Fire on July 21.
Photo by Jason Connolly / Summit Daily archives

Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on for the past week.

1. Summit County Rescue Group rescues missing, injured hikers with help from Army National Guard

The Summit County Rescue Group responded to a pair of separate missions to help find a missing person and rescue an injured hiker July 20.

The group received a call July 19 regarding a hiker who was thought to be missing in the area of Mayflower Gulch Trail. The group located the man’s car in the area the next day, but were initially unsuccessful in finding him.

As rescue workers were mounting the search for the missing man, another call came in regarding an injured hiker on the Tenmile Traverse, between Frisco and Breckenridge. A woman fell while hiking and suffered injuries not thought to be life-threatening. 

Flight For Life already wasn’t able to land in the area, and a more traditional rescue on foot wasn’t ideal given the terrain, so the rescue group requested an Army National Guard helicopter. Both missions were successful. 

Sawyer D’Argonne

2. Dice Hill Fire in far northern Summit County grows to 30 acres

Last week, emergency workers from Summit and Grand counties first responded to a wildfire in the far northern part of Summit County on July 20. The Dice Hill Fire was initially reported at about 10 acres, but grew to about 30 acres by the afternoon.

Fire crews from Grand and Summit counties battled the blaze alongside firefighters from the Bureau of Land Management. Operations were handed over to federal agencies the next day, including the Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew and the Mckenzie River Type 2 Initial Attack Crew. By July 22, firefighters had the wildfire 100% contained.

Officials believe the fire was caused by lightning.

Sawyer D’Argonne

3. Summit School District shares tentative plans for reopening in series of town halls

Summit School District officials are “embracing a new paradigm for public education” as the future of schooling hangs in the balance due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

“We’re viewing the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to transform our schools and to transform education as we know it,” Superintendent Marion Smith Jr. said at a town hall meeting last week for families in the district. 

The district held a total of four virtual town hall meetings to inform families, staff, students and community members about the future of the 2020-21 school year.

Although an official opening date isn’t decided, the district has created a restart guide, which outlines three learning models that it will use throughout the school year. The models align with the three stages in the county’s roadmap to recovery. The district plans to have a flexible approach to moving among the models as local and state ordinances change over time.

The board of education will vote on the restart date and process at its meeting July 30 and will release information about the finalized process July 31. 

Libby Stanford  

4. Properties maintain their value, as buyers take advantage of record low interest rates

Despite the economic uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus, the Summit County real estate market has stayed strong. 

Although April and May showed almost no activity, real estate professionals saw booming business in June. While people thought the pandemic might be an opportunity to snag a less expensive home, the county’s property values have continued to stay at or above pre-pandemic levels. 

There were four fewer real estate sales in June 2020 than there were in June 2019, but the total volume of sales was about $1.5 million higher this year than last year. Average sales price for all types of properties in June 2020 was $758,398, around $33,000 more than the average price in 2019.

Libby Stanford  

5. Summit County officials discuss harsh criticism, testing issues at Board of Health meeting

Before the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, public health directors were largely spared the scrutiny that often comes with being a government official. 

Now that they are leading the way in coronavirus response, health officials have been thrown into the public eye and forced to deal with more comments, concerns and insults than ever before. Summit County’s Public Health Director Amy Wineland is no exception.

Libby Stanford  

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