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Burned trees from Black Forest fire recycled

Vance and Rachel Terry, residents of Black Forest who lost their home to the 2013 Black Forest fire, have resurrected their burned trees, using them as lumber for their new home.ìOriginally, we definitely wanted to use the logs for something,î Rachel Terry said. ìMy husband is really creative with home design, and we saw a house online that had beams on the front.î Terry said she fell in love with the look of the house, and they decided to rebuild their home using lodge poles from their own property, replicating the style of the design she found online.Vance Terry is the pastor of Gateway Church, Black Forest Campus. ìThat means it’s a daughter church or plant from Gateway Church on Marksheffel,î Rachel Terry said. ìIt’s literally 90 seconds from our front door.î She said until the fire they had 50 to 55 people in the church; the number dropped but now they have 65 members. The church is small, so Vance Terry does contract work painting homes with general contractor, Kyle Dickerson. ìWe’ve been working with Kyle for 15 years,î Terry said. Now Dickerson is assisting them with rebuilding their home.Before starting the project, Terry said the burned logs had to be approved for a new build. They are using logs inside the home, as well as outside. ìWe had to figure out if they (the logs) could be approved or not,î she said. They also plan to purchase a mill at some time and build barns and a chicken coop from the lumber.Terry said she and her husband noticed many of their neighbors decided to clear cut their burned trees. ìOur entire property is burned. There’s not a single living tree,î Terry said. ìWe didn’t want to clear that.î She said they decided to use one log at a time. Vance Terry said he thinks of it as vertical storage for the lumber.ìWe leave them standing dead, and we are sorting through and making sure we don’t use anything the worms have gotten to,î Dickerson said. ìUltimately, every tree needs to come down,î Vance Terry said, but they are not cutting them down all at once. He said leaving the trees standing will keep them drier than cutting them down and stacking them.Dickerson said the fire did not damage the wood they are using. ìIf the fire got to the wood, yes, but because it stayed outside the sap layer, it’s not weakened,î he said. ìMost of these trees didn’t burn to the lumber, they just burned to the bark. This lumber wasn’t hurt by the fire. There are some trees that were damaged by the fire, but we’re not using those.î Vance Terry said the fire ìhardensî the logs. ìThey are like oak now because they’ve been cured and are better,î he said.Mibar Engineering is examining the logs and signing off on their use, Dickerson said, adding that the engineer put together a letter with the sizes of logs they needed to use. ìThe county makes sure the diameter of the logs matches what’s in that letter,î he said. ìAnd she’ll look at the logs and make sure we’re not using something flawed.îMolly Lugo, engineer from Mibar Engineering, said the structural strength of the wood is the main concern. ìYou want to make sure they are dry and not wet, so they don’t warp or change or move while you carry something,î Lugo said. ìYou run into issues when you try to use logs from elsewhere and bring them into our environment.î She said wood from the Terry home environment is dry from the fire. They use computer software to calculate the diameter of the logs; as needed for structural purposes.Rachel Terry said if they did not have the lumber to use from their property, they would have built a more basic home. ìIf we were to buy a big log, they would cost a lot,î she said. ìWe would have just used regular lumber, if we didn’t have the opportunity to cut our own.î She said that the new home is completely custom. ìMy husband has always dreamed about building his own house; he has a big role in it and that fulfills that dream. The teen boys get to learn about peeling, slitting and sawing logs. It’s a really neat opportunity, one that would have never happened had the fire not happened.îTerry said they are currently renting a house in Falcon from a family that moved to Woodland Park. Their insurance covers living expenses for two years while they can rebuild, but that ends in June. ìWe were hoping the house would be done by that point,î Terry said. ìWe’re hoping for the end of June or July, but realistically it will be more like August. Start to finish, the new house’s construction will have taken about a year.

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