Friday marked the ten-year anniversary of the start of the Hayman Fire, the largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history. For six weeks, the fire charred through 138,000 acres of forest land southwest of Denver, destroying 133 homes.
It also devastated a fragile ecosystem which supports 80-percent of the potable water used by Front Range residents.
Restoration work since 2002 has been arduous, going one seed at a time.
"People have come together in incredible ways…that's really what it's about,” says Jer Marr with the U.S. Forest Service.
To date, 17,000 acres have been reseeded. A million trees have been planted by 17,000 volunteers like Andrew Roake.
"You just see all the damage that's been done around here,” said Roake. "So anything that we can do to restore it back to its former glory you know the quicker the better.”
"For this forest to re-heal to a natural forest… would take 500 to 1,000 years if there was no human intervention,” said Carol Ekarius, President of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte.
Three years ago, a $4 million restoration fund was started with a donation from Vail Resorts.
"It gives us a starting point,” said Bill Possiel, President of the National Forest Foundation. “It allows us to develop tangible results that can demonstrate how we can expand this work."