One year ago, the lives of almost 350 households were changed forever when the Waldo Canyon Fire spilled over the mountain and into the city of Colorado Springs.
Credit: Debra Bowie. Bowie says this was taken as her family evacuated on June 26, 2012. She says the community really pulled together that day and in the aftermath of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
At the end of the night, 347 homes were destroyed, the most in state history until this year's Black Forest Fire. The fire also tore through a Colorado Springs icon, the Flying W Ranch, burning much of the property.
A year later, the Mountain Shadows neighborhood has literally risen from the ashes, embodying the definition of perseverance. Homes are being rebuilt, trees are being planted--life is returning tenfold after that terrible night.
As a celebration of the resilience of that neighborhood, as well as to honor those who worked tireless to put the fire out, non-profit organization Colorado Springs Together hosted an anniversary event Wednesday night at the Mountain Shadows Park on Flying W Ranch Road.
Organizers also wanted the event to give hope to the victims of the Black Forest Fire, who could see what healing and moving forward after a tragedy looks like one year later. Bob Cutter, president of Colorado Springs Together, said in a statement that it wasn't lost on organizers that as one part of the Colorado Springs area marked a milestone, another area was only at the beginning of the recovery process.
“The event marks another milestone in the recovery and healing of the Mountain Shadows neighborhood. At the same time we must recognize that once again a wildfire has devastated a community in our region resulting in the tragic loss of life and a terrible loss of homes and property.”
The Black Forest Fire featured heavily in Wednesday night's event, with a tribute to first responders in that fire as well the Waldo Canyon Fire, and a remembrance of the four people who lost their lives in the two fires.
The event will also included performances by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Flying W Wranglers, and fundraising by the Pikes Peak Community Foundation to support Black Forest Fire recovery efforts. The Flying W Ranch sold food and accepted donations to help with their rebuilding process.