April 28, 2021

That Thing About Living Through a Wildfire

That Thing About Living Through a Wildfire

In this episode we are going to learn about humanity, courage, perseverance and fear in the midst of a wildfire, when have a conversation with a woman who in the midst of the largest fire in the state of Colorado at that time, (the Hayman Fire), and without the help of social media, set up a fundraiser, a firefighter support system, and a network to assist the people being evacuated from the area. She did this all while the flames that were literally inches from burning her own home down. I’m Diane Herst, Michael’s wife and co-host . While he is recovering from his surgery, I will be guest hosting this episode… and My guest in this episode is Tracie Bennitt who lives in the middle of Pike National Forest. We ourselves were forced to evacuate the area when the Haymen fire was a forest fire was full blown. It started on June 8, 2002, 35 miles (56 km) northwest of Colorado Springs, Colorado and 22 miles (35 km) southwest of Denver, Colorado. At the time it was, the largest wildfire in the state's recorded history at over 138,114 acres for 18 years, and now it holds 3rd place. Hundreds of firefighters fought the fast-moving fire, which caused nearly $40 million in firefighting costs, burned 133 homes, over 600 structures, 138,114 acres, and forced the evacuation of 5,340 people. It also led to the deaths of five firefighters who died in a vehicle crash and one woman who suffered a fatal asthma attack after smoke inhalation. https://beforeyoupodcast.com

Tracie Bennitt

Tracie Bennitt is the co-owner of PaleoBOND and Dinosaur Brokers, LLC with her husband, John.

A graduate of Purdue University, she has spent the last 17 years in the paleontology industry. Nine years ago they joined forces with entrepreneur Bill Mason to take on the PaleoBOND legacy of problem solving and preserving fossils around the globe. They have mounted both original fossil and cast replica skeletons that are in museum, universities and private collections around the world.

Tracie and John reside in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with their mammals, amphibians and raptors.

On June 8,2002, a small fire started in a campfire ring in Pike National Forest by a forestry service worker during a fire ban that quickly blew out of control. Within hours the fire had spread. It was finally considered contained on July 18. This fire ended up being the largest fire in the state of Colorado at over 138,000 acres until the fire season in 2020 surpassed the totals. Over 600 structures were burned including 133 homes, 1 commercial building and 466 outbuildings.

Tracie and John were evacuated during this time. Supported by friends, Tracie started The Firefighters Fund to raise supplies and monies for the small volunteer fire departments in the area fighting the fire. This became the largest fundraising effort in her life and occurred pre-social media.

Their home survived the fire and they build dinosaurs there still today.