But as the days of the fire passed into the months that followed, neighbor turned to neighbor to offer a helping hand. To repair a road. Replace a bridge. Cut down trees. Offer fresh veggies.
The self-reliant mountain residents of Larimer County became even better at helping each other out, at looking out for their community interests in a place where your neighbor with the volunteer fire-rescue department is first to show up when you call for help.
Pastor Kelly Wheat of the Stove Prairie Community Church was staggered by the fire's magnitude. But as he's watched his fellow mountain residents recover, he's seen something even more powerful at work: community.
"Because we've been able to walk through this together, that gives us a sense of hope," said Wheat.