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“Well that was a crazy day! Glad we’re all still alive. Wow…” (Emmit Hoyl, Timberline Fire Authority, Colorado.) I’m honored to know this brave, young man. Our families celebrated many special occasions. I’m grateful to Emmit and to all first responders who selflessly battle wildfires. Living in the mountains comes with the assumed risk of wildfire.

Yesterday afternoon, I got a text ¬†from a friend in Boulder. It showed a huge black mushroom cloud of smoke climbing high into the sky, directly behind the hillside by my beloved mountain house. It’s the hillside I gazed out at every day for over twenty years.

Immediately, I called my brother. He lives in my house. We’d just spoken earlier that day. Our family will be meeting my house Saturday to head over to Jumbo mountain to spread half of our mother’s and brother’s ashes. He was proudly sharing how perfectly beautiful everything looked in preparation for the gathering.

He was napping. I woke him. He walked over to the kitchen and looked at the hillside. He said, “We’re F***ed!” (He’s not easily upset by anything.ever.) That was not his voice.

I felt sick. A giant wave of sadness washed over me; more regrets than a normal life time can hold. I asked him to take a few things from my closet and the mantel; if he had time.

Fortunately, the fire has not burned any closer. It is still not contained. Who knows what today holds. The 10 p.m. update from the Boulder Office of Emergency Management, said “More than 250 responders will be working overnight. More firefighters will be arriving Sunday.”

Why am I crying as I write this? I don’t want people to die. Please stay alive.