Our Hearts are with Wyoming

Photo credit: @amyjanedavid

Our hearts have been heavy the past two weeks as fires have ripped across Western Wyoming, devastating founder Stephanie Housley and her husband Chris Lacinaks’ home and community. Read more below and consider donating to the community’s recovery efforts here.

Two years ago Stephanie and Chris moved to Bondurant, Wyoming from Brooklyn, New York to be immersed in nature and surrounded by a vast landscape drawn by a deep and immediate love for a Wyoming community called Hoback Ranches. On Saturday September 15th, the Roosevelt Fire started. Winds and dry weather conditions quickly sent it blazing and their Hoback Ranches community was evacuated as the fire picked up, burning down houses, and tearing through the landscape. To date, over 150 homes have been evacuated and approximately 50% of homes assessed by the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office have been completely lost with the fire still raging over 54,000 acres and only 35% contained.

We can’t imagine the anxiety Stephanie and Chris feel along with their neighbors as they wait to find out the condition of their homes, if they still have one and if not, the devastating loss and grief.

Stephanie and Chris are working with the Bondurant Community Club supported by the Lions Club of Pinedale, Wyoming on fundraising, trying to get resources for people who have lost their homes as well as to rebuild the infrastructure. Hoback Ranches, where a majority of the devastation has occurred, self-funds all infrastructure. For instance, there are 26 miles of roads that need to be repaired and restored from heavy fire fighting equipment.

From Stephanie’s Instagram: “This is an aerial view of our neighborhood as seen on AP news. 55 out of 153 assessed homes have been completely lost with about 25 homes still to be assessed. It’s total heartbreak and unimaginable. Our house is still standing as of this moment, but we are so distraught for our neighbors who have no home to eventually return to. It’s been an incredible experience to go through this with our small community that we love so much. We partnered with the Bondurant Community Club and the Lions Club in Pinedale Wyoming to form a gofundme fundraising effort for victims of this devastating event. Please forward to anyone who may be interested.”

Here is the link to the Go Fund Me with more information on how to help: https://www.gofundme.com/roosevelt-fire-disaster-recovery

“The below photo is what remains of our neighbor’s home that belongs to two brothers, one a local cop and the other a firefighter who is out battling this beast.”

“Took this from the end of our driveway ten minutes before we were ordered to evacuate our home last evening. Pray for the fire fighters and all teams working on putting this out, for the animals, and that all of our homes are able to be saved.”

At Coral & Tusk, we’ve been following fire updates on the U.S. Forest Service-Bridger-Teton National Forest Facebook page.

Stephanie spoke about her deep love for Bondurant, her home and the landscape there in the recent book we posted about from Hygge & West and on the Wyoming Public Radio Human Nature Podcast.

Photography Credit: James Carriere

Though bittersweet at the moment, Stephanie’s section in the Hygge & West Home book has many reminders of why she loves Bondurant and Hoback Ranches, and we wanted to share these passages from Stephanie’s interview with Hygge & West founders Aimee and Christiana:

H&W – Are there any traditions you’ve created or maintain in this home?

“The previous owners filled this home with so much love and that strongly comes through in the overall feeling of this house and land. It is our goal to honor their hard work and carry on the traditions of being good to each other, good to this place and good neighbors in this community of very few people.”

H&W – What is your most prized possession in your home and why? 

“Well, I actually have to say it is the house and the land itself. I feel like I could fill it with a broad variety of things and feel equally excited to wake up every day. The things that we do have in the house are intentionally there, whether it is because they are useful or functional, and hopefully aesthetically pleasing too. But being able to live and work in this space feels like the greatest prized possession I can imagine.”

We know Stephanie and her community are incredibly strong and they have all banded together to help each other out during this time and will continue throughout the rebuilding efforts.

 

One thought on “Our Hearts are with Wyoming”

  1. Stephanie Housley and Chris Lacinak are the new owners of the home my parent’s built 34 yrs. ago in Wyoming. It is evident, from Stephanie’s own words, that they feel the same about the house and land that our family always did. I can only imagine how they felt in the days this fire was burning, watching and wondering if their house would be okay. I know my brother, JB, and I had many of the same feelings as we called each other daily and some days several times a day to update each other with what we were following online. My heart sank and the tears flowed when I saw a map that showed the fire had crossed Skyline Drive. I thought the house was doomed. JB, with his years of training and fighting fires in Wyoming, held onto a bit of hope, saying it was possible the house could be spared, since he and my dad had cleared underbrush and dead trees around the house every year that Mom and Dad lived there. We were relieved to hear the house is standing. We didn’t tell Mom and Dad as their health is somewhat fragile these days. When I say their hearts and souls are in Hoback Ranches, I mean this kind of news would be almost too much for them to bear. This fire did not make the national news to the extent some in more populated or better known areas have. I will share your blog post to spread the word for donations to the Go Fund Me fundraiser for the community.

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