Bryan and Kirsten Cook

Bryan and Kirsten Cook

I hope that by sharing our story, more people will hear the message that home hardening plus defensible space can move the odds in their favor when wildfire impacts their property.

There is no 100% guarantee against loss, especially as fires burn hotter in more extreme conditions exacerbated by climate change, but there is a lot one can do.

We feel grateful to have realized a dream: to design and build a small home in a landscape we fell in love with. We recognized the risks that came with our choice to live in this fire-adapted ecosystem, on a narrow one way in/out road that would make it too risky for fire crews to defend our home.

Our goal was to build a home that could stand alone, and are thankful that it came out of this fire largely intact. Our hearts go out to our neighbors who lost theirs.

New construction is the easiest time to create a fire-resilient home, but there are options for existing homes too.

There are many organizations in North Central Washington and across the state working to share the same resources and training that helped us protect our home. Please contact them and find out how they can help you get ready.

Advocate for funding for home hardening and fuels reduction projects, especially for our most vulnerable populations.

Recognize that wildfire can happen in any environment, including forests, grasslands, and towns. Start talking with your neighbors about how you can work together to be fire-adapted across all of your properties.

The landscape around us has changed dramatically from the place we fell in love with. We are learning to deal with new risks like dead trees and possible mudslides.

But the first shoots of new growth are already poking up from the black soil and the charred trunks, and we expect to love this new landscape as we witness its recovery.