Ron and Julie Lynam had long dreamed of retiring in the Colorado mountains. As high school teachers living in a college town, the couple saved and planned for years.

Finally, after looking at dozens of properties, they bought a small home surrounded by a pristine pine forest.

Ron and Julie Lynam’s home in the aftermath of the High Park fire in 2012. Courtesy of Ron Lynam. 

Just a few weeks after moving into their new home, Julie awoke one Saturday morning to a disaster; one of the biggest fires in state history was barreling towards them.

Ron Lynam by the barn he built using burned timber salvaged from their property. By Zanna McKay for StoryCorps.
Top Photo: Julie and Ron Lynam at their home near Bellvue, Colorado on September 20, 2023. By Jo Corona for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Originally aired May 31, 2024 on NPR’s Morning Edition.