Bobcat Gulch Wildfire
June 13, 2000

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Fire crests the Green Ridge From our back yard Burning toward Eden Valley From our driveway Crowning Fire reaches the meadow in Eden Valley Reaching the edge of the trees From part way up Milner Mountain The fire sits down after sunset

Wildfire Update July 7, 2001

A lightning strike from the previous night flares up ... and is attacked immediately

Loveland Reporter-Herald

June 16, 2002

As a former newspaper photographer, Phyllis Thompson believes no one can shoot too many pictures.

That's why. today she again can watch the Bobcat Gulch fire grow, creep over Green Ridge west of her house and inch down the mountain toward her fields. But this time it's through the pages of an album.

The Bobcat Gulch Fire, which began June 12, 2000, burned 10,600 acres lasting several days.

The 60-year-old rural Masonville resident took hundreds of pictures during the fire and for weeks afterward. She shared some of her photos and memories for this section.

"You don't want to talk to me," Thompson said at first. "You want to talk to someone who had to evacuate." But then, she spoke of her family's decision to stay in their home, originally built in the late 1800s.

"We felt safe here," she said. Her husband and son had just irrigated the field that stood between her house and the approaching fire.

Plus, she reasoned, she had chores to do caring for cow-calf pairs and exotic pheasants with eggs in the incubator.

When the first chief told her she needed to evacuate, Thompson said she almost pleaded with him. "I said 'If you really, truly think we have to go, we'll go.'

"He said 'No, you can sit tight for now. '" Despite the request for people to leave the area, Thompson said they saw a great deal of tourists driving onto their land.

"My husband and my son had a ball chasing people off," she laughed. "One nut, this woman, actually drove right up here, opened the gate and started walking up there to the fire. I said 'Go get her out of there.'"

Thompson said they didn't go to bed until around 2 a.m. and then were awake again in the early morning.

Much of their time was spent standing in the yard, watching the fire move down the ridge, then to the south, then back to the north.

Now from her yard, you can see the line on the ridge where the black trees end and the green takes over.

"You kind of go into shock or something," said Thompson, who has lived on the ranch for 37 years.

Walking into another room of her house, Thompson pointed out her family's collection of mounted wildlife including a bear taken in the mountains to the west and a mountain lion killed just east of her house. There are deer, a beaver and one of her own exotic birds.

"How could you walk into this room and pick what to take, " she asked. "Of course," Thompson said, "I'd take my photos first."

By Sara Quale