MOSBY – Volunteers helped a family replace fencing damaged in the Lodgepole Complex Fire that started on July 19 and has burned more than 270,000 acres.

About 200 volunteers came out to help rebuild the nearly 22 miles of fencing on a ranch near Mosby in Garfield County.

“When you have people by this number come to help you, it’s awesome,” said Larry Petersen.

“It’s amazing,” said Chris Petersen, Larry’s wife. “They come from everywhere just to help us out. It’s a great thing.

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“I told my wife that I would probably never see this place fenced in what’s left of my life,” Larry said. “Now maybe I will. That’s how much these people mean.”

The fire came close to the Petersen’s home and destroyed Larry’s childhood home, which the Petersen’s daughter was restoring.

“This fire was a little bit overwhelming,” Chris said. “Never seen such a fire before.”

Larry’s family built all the fencing that was destroyed.

“This was actually the sad part for him because his grandfather and uncle and his dad and himself, they put up most of these fences,” Chris said. “Nothing here when they came.”

The Breakfast Flakes, Paul Mushaben and Mark Wilson, with the help of donations, celebrated the day of installing fences with the volunteers.

“Everybody here today is here because want to do something nice,” Wilson said. “Feel good event. Helping because they want to help.”

“There’s a lot people that have been devastated by this fire,” said Rich Shammel, who made the trip from Billings.  “Montanans help each other out in times of need, so figured we’d come up, pitch in, and do our part. “

“I’m not sure when I’m able to write all these thank you cards out,” Chris said. “But I would like to put it out to everybody,  and to all the firefighters and all the people who worked on the fires. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Some volunteers had helped before Saturday, and more are expected to help the Petersens complete the fencing work.

MTN’s David Jay