The October 2003 Southern California wildfires destroyed nearly eight hundred thousand acres, 3,657 homes, and killed twenty-two people. In San Diego County, the Cedar Fire ravaged vast areas becoming the largest fire on the record in state history. Out of this federal disaster Chi Varnado and her family escaped with their lives from their canyon nestled in San Diego's back country. She worked as owner-builder on a log cabin and was among the minority who managed to rebuild in a little over a year. She writes first-hand what life is like in a year of loss: first her mother and then their home in the canyon.