Family turns burnt trees into beautiful memories after Black Forest Fire

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Two years ago Thursday, the Black Forest Fire broke out, killing two people and burning down about 500 homes.

Over the course of two weeks, the flames destroyed more than 14,000 acres, leaving behind nothing but black, burnt wood.

But one Colorado Springs family has decided to make the black rubble into something beautiful.

Just one week after the Black Forest Fire destroyed their entire home, Marcia and her whole family decided they were going to go back and rebuild.

Now they’re making new memories, in a home filled with artistic and functional reminders of the past.

“You’re in shock. You just kind of put one foot in front of the other,” Marcia said about the fire.

Two years ago Thursday, Marcia got the call. She and her family had half an hour to grab as many memories as they could and go.

“Of course there’s things you regret that you didn’t do in those 30 minutes, but the priorities were getting yourself out and your family and your pets,” Marcia said.

But they haven’t lost all of the memories they’ve made in the 30 years they’ve lived here. It’s all thanks to Josh Mabe of Twenty1Five, who turned her burnt, black trees into works of art.

“Just seeing that material and how much it was destroyed or damaged, I wanted to capture that story but I didn’t want that to be the end of the story,” Mabe said.

So they made the memory into something beautiful, but left reminders of what happened behind to tell a story–one of hope and recovery.

“The people that live here still, they’re strong people to go through something like that and anytime you can capture something that strong and bold and make it beautiful that’s a pretty good combination,” Mabe said.

“There’s been a lot of rebuilding, and it’s pretty amazing to see people who were affected much more than we were, they like it here still. It’s home,” Marcia said.

Mabe and Marcia worked together for a year to finish the project, and to this day they remain good friends.

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