Grand Lake residents share horror of losing everything as East Troublesome fire exploded |

Grand Lake residents share horror of losing everything as East Troublesome fire exploded

The East Troublesome Fire burns nearby Granby on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Photo by Eli Pace / Sky-Hi News

GRAND COUNTY — Travis Busse can’t help but think about the trees.

The ones where he made his treehouses on the Winding River Ranch in Grand Lake as a kid — his favorite spot to play when he wasn’t helping his dad out on the ranch.

Nearly 50 years later, that same family ranch became his life’s work. Busse transformed the space into a wedding venue and hosted veterans, who used the animals and serene wilderness to cope with trauma from the horrors of overseas combat. Busse’s grandmother still had a house there, where she’d visit from Arizona even as she approached the century mark.

But this week, those same trees that Busse used to climb were engulfed in flames — along with his house, his grandmother’s house and more than a dozen other buildings on the 240-acre ranch that he’s called home his entire life.

“I was just in utter shock,” Busse said, a day after coming back to Grand Lake to see the charred remains of his life. “I was in disbelief, thinking, ‘This really didn’t just happen.’”


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