The 10th anniversary of the Missionary Ridge Fire has given Vallecito resident Ireta McCracken some time for reflection.
I thought it would never look nice again, McCracken said of the place where shes lived since 1986. But its coming back.
Firefighters used protective foam to save the 800-square-foot cabin that McCracken modernized with indoor plumbing and other amenities.
Nevertheless, McCracken, who was secretary to water attorney Sam Maynes for 15 years, spent three weeks away from home when the fire swept through the community.
Then came the rain.
The trees above me didnt hold, so the whole hillside came through my back door, continued through the living room and out the front door, McCracken said. I had eight inches of black, smoky mud in the house.
The force of the moving muck tore out trees, her garden and lilacs that McCracken had saved from her grandmothers house in Mancos.
Personal items and garden tools were carried across County Road 501 and into the lake.
I never saw some of my things again, McCracken said. Some of them are probably at the bottom of the lake.
One of McCrackens four sons used a truck vacuum to suck mud from the house. Insurance paid for later cleanup.
Theres a lot of green now because the hillside is growing back, McCracken said. This is home.