The Stories

The High Park Fire touched the lives of many people – residents of mountain communities, first responders, emergency services personnel, and hundreds of local, state, and federal workers. As part of this project, we have interviewed and videotaped a variety of people with different experiences and points of view. Explore the impact of the fire and its aftermath through a few of their stories. More stories will be added throughout the project.

This 23-minute documentary tells the story of the High Park Fire from the people who experienced it.

Barbara Shepard Williams’ grandfather homesteaded in Rist Canyon in the late 1800s. The High Park Fire took the homestead and more.

Donna Marie Feigle lives in Poudre Canyon. The High Park Fire changed the way she feels about the Canyon.

Mark Benjamin is a structural engineer. The High Park Fire changed his relationship to his community.

Pam Gaynor spent half her life living up Poudre Canyon, until the fire.

Kellie and Tony Falbo are both firefighters with the Poudre Canyon Volunteer Fire Protection District. When the High Park Fire jumped into Poudre Canyon the evening of June 9, they were pretty much on their own for the first bit.

Dee and Joe Skelton raised pure Spanish horses on their dream ranch. They had been evacuated before and they didn’t think they would lose their house.

Bob Gann has been Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department Chief since 1988. The High Park Fire has been the Department’s biggest challenge to date.

Danny Barnhart is an insurance agent. He and seven of his customers lost their homes in the High Park Fire, making it a very difficult time both personally and professionally.

Pat Baker built her house in the 1970s and lost it in the High Park Fire. An artist and teacher, she lost many pieces of art from her collection. She was one of the first to rebuild her house and is rebuilding her collection as well.

Mark De Gregorio is a firefighter and forester. He’s fought many big fires including the Yellowstone fire in 1988. So when he spotted smoke just west of his house in Redstone Canyon, he immediately went to see how he could help.

Lisa LaDue is a social worker who works in disaster recovery; often with mass fatalities. She is also a resident of Glacier View and a volunteer firefighter. The High Park Fire forced her to make some tough choices in terms of priorities.

Louise Creager and her husband lived in a concrete house with a metal roof. But even that was no match for the 200 foot flames that swept through her property.

Wes Rutt is joined the Rist Canyon Volunteer Firefighters soon after he and his wife moved to Stove Prairie over 25 years ago. As a tree farmer, he’s thought a lot about the forest and the increasing fires.

Pedro Boscan is a volunteer firefighter for the Rist Canyon Fire Protection District. His experience with the fire, changed his life and his feelings about the community.

Greg Niswender was the Fire Chief for the Glacier View Fire Protection District when the High Park Fire Struck. Although they hoped the fire wouldn’t reach them, he had a plan.

NoCo Rebuilding Network (NCRN) was founded by a group of people who believe in the collective talent and wisdom of our local community. Their goal is to rebuild safer, stronger, smarter. Here, 3 of the founders talk about the group and the many others who are part of the network.

Dani Grant owns the Mishawaka in Poudre Canyon. They were setting up for a concert when they got the evacuation order.

Carol Dollard has lived in Rist Canyon for 30 years and volunteered as a Rist Canyon Firefighter for all of that time. She talks about fighting the fire and fitting that job into the rest of her life.

Tony Simons is an Emergency Services specialist for Larimer County. He has been on most of the big fires in Larimer County and was one of the first responders on the High Park Fire.

Carl Solley was Fire Chief of the Poudre Canyon Volunteer Fire Department during the High Park Fire. He has since retired.

Melody Masters fully expected to be able to return to her dream home in the mountains; until she saw it burning on the news.

Charlie Golden lost his house in the High Park Fire. He is rebuilding it with tremendous community support.

Mark and Leslie Wharton built their solar house off the grid 20 years ago.  They loved living in the mountains.  But the High Park Fire changed all that.

Dale and Marilyn Snyder lost their house in the High Park Fire.  That was traumatic.  But when he learned what his insurance actually covered, Dale got mad.  And then he did something about it.

Candace Andrasik lost her house in the High Park Fire. She and her three children now live in a Habitat House on the same spot. It was a long journey.

 

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The High Park Fire: A Community Responds