KUSA - Two years after Curt Busby and Kelly O'Donnell's home burned in Larimer County during the Crystal Fire of 2011, the two have taken it upon themselves to cut down burned trees, mill them, and get them ready for rebuilding their home.
It's an effort that many fire victims likely think about, but never do, because it takes so much time and effort.
"The process of cleaning up the mess, which is still underway, is really tough," Busby said. "Some people are just paying to have the trees cut down, and hauled away.
Busby and his wife have spent six months cutting the trees down themselves. He bought a saw mill, which they use to cut the burned sections off the tree so the wood can be used for their new home.
"We've cut probably [a] couple hundred trees," Busby said. "It was a lot of work. I can tell that I'm stronger."
Timber framer Steve Rundquist is taking the burned trees Busby and his wife have prepared and helping them build the house.
"It's very unusual, it's the first one that we've done," Rundquist said.
He says the effort is unusual because of how much labor is required.
"Hundreds of hours, I'm sure, maybe thousands," Rundquist said, laughing. "It just feels good to be able to use that stuff.
Busby is quick to point out that the burned trees will rot after a couple of years, anyway, and can be dangerous because they're likely to fall down.
He says cutting down the trees has been therapeutic, and it's good fire mitigation.
"There's been a lot of interest, because there's so many people with lots of big trees," Busby said.
For now, he's using the mill at his property. But he would be open to other requests in the future from those who might want to follow his lead.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)