Experts estimate that the time it takes for an individual to recover economically, socially, and economically from a wildfire is approximately 10 years. That's a decade just to return to where you were yesterday.
It's a stat that was hard to wrap my mind around, so I chose to witness it in person in Eastern Washington. The Methow Valley was ravaged by wildfires in 2014 and 2015 (to the tune of $30 million in damages), and the community was forced to start over not onces, but twice. Through it all a small community ski resort provided temporary solace from the flames. Luckily, POWDER magazine let me tell the story in their 2018 February issue, and it is now available online. If you have a second, please check it out.
On another note, I in no way wanted this feature to be a trend piece, but after a devastating fire season worldwide in 2017, it is very possible that this small Washington community's struggle could become commonplace in years to come. I urge you to keep that in mind when reading, and understand that behind every news report are hundred of humans whose lives will never be the same.
Big thanks to the Methow and Okanogan communities for letting me into their world and sharing their story.