Driving into Lake City last Saturday afternoon looked apocalyptic. We didn’t know the Durango-area “416 Fire” had blown up that day and that the winds had pushed the fallout from the inferno up and over the Continental Divide and right down into the Upper Lake Fork Valley.

The normally majestic peaks of the San Juan Mountains were gone, shrouded in a thick haze. The late afternoon sun burned bright orange through the smoke, casting an eerie glow onto the canopy of the aspen forest, like stage lights illuminating actors through a color filter.

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