The long heartbreak of the Marshall Fire

Posted January 23, 2022

It’s been three weeks since the most destructive fire in Colorado history hurled thousands of people into shock. Our Crow Canyon family extends into the communities and homes that were consumed by wind and fire that frightening day, a day spent texting and calling and checking social media to find out if our friends were safe. Like so many others, the feeling of relief at finding friends and family unharmed was quickly replaced by disbelief and despair at the nearly 1,100 houses lost.

Homes are the museums of our memories, filled with artifacts that tell the stories of our lives. In the hours after they’re gone, messages of consolation say, “things can be replaced, but people can’t.” In the weeks and months that follow, this fact loses some of its power to comfort. We humans universally create keepsakes, collect relics, and touch the mementos of our past to ground us in our present and accompany us into the future.

For nearly two years, the pandemic transformed homes into remote offices and schools, isolation and quarantine shelters, and safe retreats from an unpredictable outside world. Losing the physical structure that kept us safe and the objects that connected us to our personal history is especially poignant right now.

After the shock fades, the weight of loss collides with the heavy lift ahead. The challenges of cleanup, demolition, debris removal, and a maze of logistics and difficult choices are ahead. Communities and people are resilient and will persevere and thrive again. The rebuilding may go a little easier if we recognize that those affected on December 30th are at the beginning, and will need our understanding, compassion, and support for the long journey ahead.

With love,

Liz Perry

President & CEO

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center