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Community marks anniversary of the Black Forest Fire's containment

 Pictures set out on display of volunteers who helped rebuild after the fire.
Pictures set out on display of volunteers who helped rebuild after the fire. (KKTV)
Published: Jun. 20, 2020 at 4:57 PM MDT
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It's been seven years since a devastating fire was fully contained in our community.

The Black Forest Fire burned more than 14,000 acres, and hundreds of homes were destroyed.

On Saturday, the community marked the

Right in the middle of what used to be burned land, now sits a farmers market, and that's just one of many examples of the community coming together and turning devastation into something beautiful. It might be seven years since the fire set a community ablaze, but it has also been seven years of regrowth and rebirth.

But back in 2013 as the fire ripped through the area, the community didn't know the kind of damage it would do.

"We were under the assumption that we were going to contain this and going to take control, and as it grew -- I mean, in a flash it just took off ... and went," said Lt. Rick Robirds of the Black Forest Fire Department. "The fields were just so dry and the air was just so hot, then the wind just took it and it was just gone."

The fire burned for nine days. It destroyed hundreds of homes, thousands of acres, and left two people dead.

"This is the biggest fire I've seen here. This is definitely a huge area that was tremendously affected," Robirds added.

But out of all of the devastation, a sense of togetherness was evident.

"The way that this community, it's a bunch of neighbors can get together without any mayor or county commissioner or anyone telling them what to do ... they just come forth and do it," Rich Crawford said.

Young and old, neighbors helping neighbors, people helping lead animals off of property whose owner they've never even met, and the community coming together for more than a week to rise from the ashes.

"That was heartening, encouraging. No one exchanging any money. Nobody getting paid for hauling horses. Nobody getting paid for evacuating. Everybody just went to work," Crawford added. "What do you need? And that is continuing today here."

El Paso County is under stage one fire restrictions right now. That means no campfires and no smoking in wilderness areas.

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