My name is Laura Lollar and I, along with many of my friends, family and neighbors, am a wildfire survivor. I launched this site so wildfire survivors could get useful information and encouragement from others who have “been there.”
I publish a Wildfire Survivors Tips Booklet and interview wildfire survivors on video, so they can tell their stories and share tips to help others get through the months and years ahead.
If you know a wildfire survivor, please share this site with them. I hope this information is helpful. I wish there had been something similar available for us after our wildfire experience.
If you’d like me to speak on this topic for your group, meeting or conference, please contact me. –Laura Lollar
Our Wildfire Story
We lost it all in Colorado’s 2013 Black Forest Wildfire. So did my brother and his family. Two of my neighbors died, over 500 structures and homes were destroyed and over 14,000 acres burned. While there are no “winners” when it comes to a natural disaster, it was at that point one of the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.
Below is a picture I took of our home the day we evacuated. You can see smoke clouds billowing over the roof. Little did I know that less than an hour after we evacuated, our home would be engulfed with flames.
One of our local reporters, Wayne Laugesen, shot this quick video. Most likely, this is the exact place and the moment our home was burning.
This is what I packed to evacuate, along with two cats, my computer, our photo albums, and my son’s few belongings. Kiddingly, when I walked into my Mom and Dad’s house that afternoon with this suitcase, I joked, “Well, this could be the only thing I have left in this world.”
Below is what was left when we went back ten days later. If you look closely, you can see the ceramic decorative houses left intact on the mantle over the woodstove. I use those ceramic houses to illustrate the “resilience” we gain from surviving tragedy and non-negotiable change in my Wildfires of Change speaking engagements.
We rebuilt on the same site within a year of losing our home. About half of our neighbors also rebuilt, but many settled in other communities. Some left the area permanently. Many still struggle to recover emotionally: depression, PTSD and anxiety are not unheard of. However, this is a feisty community and most have moved on with life.
If you know of Wildfire Survivors, first responders or others who want to tell their story, I’d love to interview them. Please have them contact me.
With my best regards,
Laura Lollar, Black Forest, Colorado