Covering Colorado: A personal look at the Black Forest Fire

Father and Daughter Hanging this sign thanking the firefighters and emergency personnel who helped with Black Forest fire

Our firefighters in the Heartland often fight cover fires, but nothing like the Black Forest Fire. A fire that I've witnessed first hand, and one that's now considered the most destructive in Colorado history.

The massive fire left more than 14,000 acres burned, at least 500 homes destroyed and the lives of two people robbed by the raging fire.

Darrell Fortner lived right in the heart of Black Forest fire. He was actually out of town, and on his way back to his home in Colorado Springs, when he received a phone call. It was one he will never forget.

It was back in August of 1992 when he and his wife, with nothing but a 1984 Ford pickup truck and two little chain saws started their tree cutting business.

"...and now we're back to starting all over again, but I have [my wife] and we have each other," said Darrell.

It was early Tuesday afternoon, June 11th when the fast moving fire scorched the heavily wooded area.

As a reporter, I had the opportunity to help our sister station, in Colorado Springs report on this devastation, one that brought tears to my eyes.

The Waldo Canyon fire hit the Colorado Springs area June 23, 2012. If there's anybody that knows the tragedy of forest fires it's the victims of Waldo Canyon fire.

The Waldo fire victims held a gathering to comfort those who lost everything in the Black Forest fire, nearly one year later.

"To have the Waldo Canyon fire evacuees wrap their arms around the Black Forest evacuees," said Suzanne Lung, a Waldo Canyon evacuee. "[We've] been there, we understand and we just wanted to comfort them."

I've never witnessed so much triumph in the midst of pure tragedy. Although the piles of wreckage are raw reminders, it's also an indication of a matchless bond ignited from the massive misfortune.

I've watched soldiers and firefighters who lived in the evacuation areas volunteer to help, despite the fact that they may not have a home to go back to themselves.

"The level of devotion and commitment of care it's really impressed me, and I've been with the National Guard for nine years," said Commander Anthony Gherardini with the Colorado National Guard. "{Weâ??re} happy to be out here to help the people of Colorado. It's nice to have neighbors helping neighbors."

Although the recovery efforts are far from over, I am confident that those affected will overcome.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Colorado residents. Thank you for sharing your stories.