Glenn Noreen - President
Tom Thorward and I visited camp recently and went to a Forest Service briefing about the fire. Below, I describe my impression of the boundaries of the fire near camp. For orientation, looking uphill from camp is south (which to me seems counter-intuitive).
The fire apparently began just south (uphill) of the water tank. One of the early pictures of the fire shows it ranging adjacent to and uphill of the old Boy Scout water tanks (large cylindrical concrete pipes). The fire did not come north (downhill) from here, so the water tank is fine (and full!).
Glenn Noreen and Ross Quinn
A spur of the fire spread west (to the right looking uphill) and a bit north (downhill). This spur never crossed downhill of the access trail to the Foresee Creek Trail, which acted (with assist from the fire fighters) as a fire break; this access trail marks the furthest northern boundary of the fire near camp. The spur extended to perhaps twenty feet of the twin tall Ponderosa Pines at the intersection of the access trail and the Foresee Creek Trail. It did not extend to the Foresee Trail itself, at least in this area; Ross recently posted a photo of himself and me next to the San Gorgonio wilderness boundary sign near the trail intersection, and you can see there is no visible damage in the picture.
The fire ran to the southeast from the water tank (uphill and to the left looking uphill), quickly extending its width to that of a freeway, then the width of perhaps two or three freeways where it ran into the creek. The northern (downhill) boundary of fire at the creek is several blocks south (uphill) of the camp.
Firefighters at Camp de Benneville Pines during the Lake Fire Credit: Janet James
The fire damage is not visible from the camp itself. You would need to walk up from Cabin 3 towards the water tank to see signs of it. The damage is not visible along Highway 38 driving from Redlands to the camp, and is not visible from the Barton Flats road to camp. Visitors driving from Redlands to the camp will not see any damage and could easily attend a full camp session without noticing that there has been a fire.
The first obvious sign of the fire from Jenks Lake Road is past Jenks Lake (which is open for all uses, including canoeing) is approaching the South Forks trail. The fire damage at the South Forks trailhead is severe. However, the fire never crossed over to the north side of Jenks Lake Road (or Highway 38, for that matter, going all the way to Big Bear).
Daisy Doodle with Fire Hose
The camp was closed for almost 4 weeks of summer camp. Our lost revenue after canceling 4 weeks of camp is quite significant.. Many people are asking how they may help ease the financial blow suffered by the camp. In the weeks to come, we will be soliciting for both financial support and manual support. We need to set sandbags and hay waddles in strategic areas on the hill above camp to help direct any additional water flow, due to the burn above the camp, away from our buildings. We will need a lot of helping hands to accomplish this task before the rainy season sets in. We will also need to financial support to help close the gap.
On a positive note, the camp mailed a teddy bear to all PSWD Elementary Campers who had to miss camp due to the fire. The teddy bears came complete with a letter asking the camper to take care of the bear who had lost his home due to the fire, and give the bear a name. Click on our Facebook Page to see the joyful smiles of several of the happy campers with their bears.
The fire was a tragedy, but fires are a natural part of the circle of life and the forest will recover. In the meantime, our camp is intact and our programs are again underway. See you in camp!