Seven days later and the fire of Fourmile Canyon has been contained, but the light at the end is still a long way off for many.
Finally allowed to return home, evacuees are finding it hard to call what’s left a “home” after all.
What they are returning to is an empty valley of ashes.
Picture the epitome of a Colorado mountain man. Though this man is not technically born and bred a Coloradan, he’s just about as close as one can get. Working as an independent contractor, this man built his life on Sugarloaf Mountain. He built a home there — a home that would house his two sons, his wife, himself and his life’s work.
This home became a part of the Fourmile Fire.
In the year that I have known this man, I have not once seen him carrying even the slightest bit of sadness; not once have I seen him show a tinge of resentment. That is, up until two days ago.
For the first time in a year, he came to work without his stainless steel mug — the one that never leaves his side. I inquired only to find that it was left behind in a desolate hotel room, along with everything else.
I could only muster up one line: “I’m sorry. I can’t imagine.” Slowly backing away, he muttered a sullen response, “Yeah, no one can… It’s hard to be here on days like today.”
That was two days ago. He’s since been able to return to his property; he’s said to be one of the lucky ones. But the truth is this man still has miles to go before he can even hope to catch sight of what was once there.
This is the stark reality hundreds of the lucky ones are now facing.
Yet somehow, with this series of unfortunate events, a bit of communal faith has been restored. The truthful and accurate coverage of this fire has been inspiring in and of itself.
Furthermore, fundraisers abound and help can be found on just about every corner.
So let’s take this refreshing notion of faith and run with it. Let’s have faith that we will not forget this fire; let’s not forget all those who still have a long, long way to go.
Abby Faires is a student at the University of Colorado.