Our home at 77 Snowy Range was a total loss, along with many other neighbors. Unfortunately the trend of fires swept through the state that summer and has continued around the globe ever since. Please make sure that you have proper homeowners or renters insurance, and are prepared for basic emergencies. We had good coverage, along with a video of the entire contents of our home, which was invaluable during the claims process. I also had a good digital copy of my artwork on my websites, which helped to validate my lost archive. Laws should allow for total loss situations to not require itemized home contents lists, which are depreciated several times in order to obtain the policy maximum. At least that's how it was when we dealt with such a scenario.
The following photographs were taken with an iPhone 4s in HDR mode during and after the High Park Fire in 2012. (Except the last one, which was shot with a Lumix G9)
The High Park Fire was caused by a lightning strike, which makes it slightly easier to bear in comparison to arson, or some other negligence. By no means do I want to diminish this tragedy which caused the death of a local woman, and permanently changed the lives of many others. Such a great number of people are experiencing loss on this level these days, and it is a huge toxic waste which further damages the environment.
I will always be grateful to the brave women and men from the Glacier View Fire Department, the Poudre Fire Authority, and many other fire fighters from around the nation. They worked countless hours under terrible conditions, and at the risk of their own lives to try and save our homes. They are all true heroes, and I say Thank YOU.
(I must also admit and accept the fact that we were living in an area considered to be Wildland Urban Interface, and in some cases it is agreed that attempts at mediation should never put other's lives at risk.)
The community of Fort Collins, friends, neighbors, and old acquaintances were crucial in our rebuilding process. People were so generous and we will never forget that kindness. We really felt loved throughout the experience and that helped so much. It's all about family and friends keeping each other in mind.
At this time we can add California, Brazil, Australia, and many others to the list of places that have experienced horrific fire damage. It's sad to realize that the list grows in numbers and locations with each passing season, with no end in sight.
It is hard to dismiss these events as a wildfire survivor because it is always fire season somewhere in the world, and it seems these days like wildfires are continually in the headlines. I know each situation is different, and root causes are often variable and compounded. In the least we can be more aware and prepared in hopes of avoiding and preventing such catastrophes.
Snowy Range Ct. was a magical and special place for us while we lived there. As an artist, losing my work archive, supplies, collected work of my contemporaries, and everything else has changed my perception and expectations forever. There is no accuracy in saying "it's just stuff", for someone who has no experience with a total loss from a natural disaster. I have empathy for anyone who has gone through an experience of this magnitude, and am thankful for all of the help that we had during our recovery.
We worked to restore our land for years after the fire, and in late 2019 finally made the decision to sell our property to the new neighbors that moved in and started building their huge looking house. It was strange to feel like we were in the yard of the new neighbors, with no privacy in sight, while trying to hang out on our land. Having no trees left, with close lot lines will change one's perspective about space and privacy. They are nice people and have the best combined lot in the area now, in my opinion, and we wish them well.
Snowy Range you were a great and challenging place to live, we are thankful for what you gave to us, and how much beauty you were able to share during the 3 years that we were together.