“The last thing you think is that every single photo or family memento could be lost forever in an instant,” said one mother, whose home was lost to the recent fires in Sonoma County.

When the fires swept through the North Bay, victims to the blaze lost almost everything they owned, including their family's precious photos. While these photos will never be recovered from the destruction, local photographers wanted to do their part to make up for at least some of the loss.

In an event organized by local resident Mimi Carroll, 72 families smiled for the camera on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens in Santa Rosa for a free photo session for North Bay fire victims. In all, 18 professional photographers and 45 assistants and volunteers helped these families recreate some of the memories they lost to the fires through new family portraits.

“These photographers aren’t looking for any recognition," Carroll said. "They just want to use their time, tools and expertise to give back to those in need.”

Luther Burbank's former Santa Rosa home proved to be the perfect setting for Carroll's vision. With clear blue skies and the cheerful setting, families will now have new memories to replace the photos they lost.

“For the casual observer, it would be hard to tell who experienced more joy — the families or the photographers giving freely of their time and skills to create new portraits for each family,” photographer Ray Mabry said.

View some of the portrait sessions in the photo gallery above.