Couple ties the knot in new venue amid raging ‘416 Wildfire’ in Colorado

Sara and Michael Kramer

DURANGO, Colo. — A Colorado couple didn’t let a raging wildfire ruin their wedding day. Instead, they used the flames as a backdrop for their wedding photos.

Sara and Michael Kramer tied the knot on Saturday, June 9. After they had to pull out of their original venue, Cascade Village, because of the “416 Wildfire” in Durango, Colorado, the groom’s whole family came together to help make their big day happen. His aunt and uncle offered up their property on Country Road 250 as a new venue. The home lies in a valley just below the blaze.

Instead of letting the smoke and smell of burning in the air ruin their big day, Sara and Michael embraced it.

A photo of them enjoying a celebratory kiss highlights the growing concerns in the community — where life has to move forward, even as more than 800 firefighters are battling the blaze that has grown to more than 22,000 acres and remains at only 10 percent contained.

The cause of the blaze, which started June 1 in the San Juan National Forest, has not been determined. It comes amid a severe drought in the Four Corners area where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet.

The fire is the largest of several burning in Colorado, including another fire that broke out nearby Friday. Firefighters were able to respond quickly to another fire that started Saturday near Wolcott. Authorities there are asking for the public’s help looking for three men seen leaving the area where it started.

Fire officials have been expecting a busy wildfire season after a dry winter, possibly the worst since 2012 and 2013, when the Black Forest Fire in El Paso County destroyed nearly 500 homes, the most in state history.