LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – For the first time since the Cameron Peak Fire ignited, CBS4 gained access to a large portion of the land already burned by the third largest fire in state history. One beloved property, the Shambhala Mountain Center, lost several structures. However, the iconic Stupa was spared, but only by feet.
Employees at the Shambhala Center thanked firefighters for their tireless efforts to save much of the property, even as the fire came through.
“The firefighters are awesome. They saved so much. We were listening to the scanner the night the fire blew through here. They saved so many buildings,” said Jeff Smith, an employee at the center.
Smith, and many other employees who’ve come to love the Buddhist retreat, were forced to evacuate due to the fire. Many are now living in hotels in Loveland.
While the blaze has since moved away from the property, many fear it could once again return.
“When the winds kick up, just everything will be burning again,” Smith told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
Several workers at the property were pleased to see the Stupa remained standing. The building is nestled against the foothills. The fire came within just feet of the structure as seen by the burn scar leading up to the sidewalk.
Smith said he has a hard time resting, knowing the blaze continues nearby.
“I never sleep anymore,” Smith said.
While many haven’t been as fortunate to have their beloved facilities spared, Smith said he was thankful for the firefighters who spent countless hours protecting all they could.
“(The Shambhala) is 600 acres of just the greatest place ever,” Smith said.
The cause of the fire, which has burned 131,231 acres since is started Aug. 13, still has not been determined.