Colorado wildfire survivors mentor Black Forest Fire victims

Waldo Canyon Fire survivor Carla Albers

Carla Albers knows first hand the challenges facing the survivors of the Black Forest Fire.

She said losing her home in the Waldo Canyon Fire was one of the hardest moments she's ever faced.

"I was in our hotel room alone, and I just sobbed hysterically," Albers said. "My son walked in, and I think he was a little worried about his mom at that point. Because it just hits you on such a visceral level. I can't explain it. It's just uncontrolled sobbing."

Today, all around Albers' neighborhood homes are being built.

One of Albers' neighbors John Gardener has lost two homes, one in the Waldo Canyon Fire and now another in Black Forest.

"This go-around, everything we got out the first time is gone," Gardener said. "And everything we purchased for the new house is gone. So, emotionally, it's been slightly different this time."

Considering his losses, Gardener's outlook is quite amazing.

"It's an ordeal, and it's a big life-changing event," Gardener said. "But it's not the end of the universe. It's really not the end of the universe. It's just a house, and it's a bunch of stuff."

With the help of Colorado Springs Together , Albers and other Waldo Canyon Fire survivors are offering their help through a new mentoring program.

One year later, Albers has advice for Black Forest residents facing the daunting task of starting all over again.

"It's OK to be sad," she said. "You're gonna have good days and bad days. You need to pace yourself because it's a long process. It's not going to be done for you next week or next month or two months or three months. I know that I could not have done this without the support of my friends and family and community."

Albers also encourages Black Forest residents to start making a complete inventory list of all of the items they lost in the fire.

She says that they will need to start the long process researching what each item is worth and what it will cost to replace.

Even though it will take a lot of time to do, Albers advises Black Forest residents not to put it off.