Wednesday, June 11, 2014

One Year Later…

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Royal Gorge and Black Forest fires, both of which ignited on the same day. The Black Forest fire took two lives – a loss that will always be deeply felt by family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

The photo in the header of this blog was taken by my husband, who used a zoom lens from the front porch of our home on the second day of the Black Forest fire. He was stuck with evacuation duties because I was at an out-of-state training class (which, ironically, was about how to manage large, multi-jurisdictional incidents such as these two fires…).

I haven’t been down to the Royal Gorge since the fire, but I see the scars of the Black Forest fire just about every single day on my drive to work. There are still thousands of acres of tall, black sticks that used to be lush, green trees. Some areas of the burned forest have been clear-cut (little else can be done with acres upon acres of dead trees), leaving behind wide-open spaces and newfound views of the mountains to the west. About 50 of the 489 destroyed homes have been rebuilt, with another 200 in progress.

The Black Forest community is resilient and continues to march forward in the recovery and rebuilding process. It will take time, and the area will never be what it was. But it is still a place that people call home.

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