Sky-Hi News: Megafire strengthened our commitment to Grand County |

Sky-Hi News: Megafire strengthened our commitment to Grand County

Eli Pace and Emma Trainor
The PDF of the Sky-Hi News front page two days after the explosion of the East Troublesome Fire on Oct. 21, 2020.
Sky-Hi News / Courtesy photo

When the East Troublesome Fire blew up on Grand County, it blew up on all of us.

Grand County sounded the alarm through the Mountain Area Mutual Aid agreement, and first-responders came from across the state and region. They helped us fight the fire, and they helped our residents and guests escape the flames.

One year later, we’re grateful for everything these men and women did for us in our time of need. Thank you doesn’t begin to express the gratitude we feel for those who came to our aid, but we’d like to say it again. Thank you so much.

Our local heroes, there are so many. Every single one of you deserves our deepest gratitude.

Our first-responders from Grand County — the people at our fire, EMS and police departments, the sheriff’s office and all of the county’s emergency personnel — they are the reason the loss of life and property wasn’t more widespread than it was, and they are likely why Grand Lake still exists as it does today. Thank you forever and always.

In the year since the fire, we have tried to follow the recovery efforts at every level, and the volunteerism since the blaze has been nothing short of amazing. Even though a massive amount of work lies ahead, we can’t imagine where Grand County would be without these people.

In many cases, they are individuals who lost everything in the fire themselves but have given their time, skills and limited resources to help the rest of their community heal and rebuild. To the people who’ve thrown their hearts and souls into Grand County’s recovery effort, your work has been stellar, and we admire you more than you may know.

We also want to recognize our newsroom and our two reporters — McKenna Harford and Amy Golden. Under pre-evacuation orders, our small band of journalists at the Sky-Hi News held firm, striving to deliver important information in any form they could, be it online, through our social media accounts or in print. Looking back on our place that night, more than anything, we hope we helped.

On Oct. 21, 2020, Grand County was thrust into the national spotlight. The sight of flames running over the mountains and barreling down on our towns, our homes, played over national newscasts. But one year later, after much of the national attention has faded away, we’re still here like many people in Grand County and Grand Lake, committed more than ever to continuing our work with the fire and its aftermath.

We remember the harrowing firefight and frantic mass evacuation that horrible night, but as we reflect on the one year anniversary, we’ve also seen months and months of great work on top of that.

Among the fire victims, we have heard many, many stories about the recovery that simply couldn’t fit into one issue, and we will continue to share those stories through the newspaper, just as the Sky-Hi News has done for the last 75 years.

One year is not enough time to heal, rebuild or move on. For years and decades to come, the East Troublesome Fire will be a part of our story and we will continue to tell it. We look forward to a day when the anniversary of the East Troublesome Fire goes largely unnoticed, just a blip on the radar, but that feels like that’s going to be a long time from today.

— Sky-Hi News Publisher Emma Trainor and Editor Eli Pace

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