As most of you have read on line, the fire is burning on both side of Hwy 38 today. I got a text this morning from Fire Chief Jett Schuster. He and his crew were fighting the fire as it entered camp on the Cabin 3 side (west side). His comments at 9:41 am: “Janet, I just wanted to send you a quick message that the buildings at Camp de Benneville Pines are okay at the moment. The cars are okay, but your tractor has minor burnt tracks. Good job maintaining the area, we were able to defend the structures up to this point because of the attention to fire clearance measures.”
I responded back that we have two water towers up on the hill with 100,000 gallons of water in storage and to please use every drop to defend the structures. I have not heard anything else today. But it was very nice to hear from Chief Jett and learn that our fire clearance work was helping them to protect structures. My sincere thanks to all the volunteers who came up this summer to work on fire clearance around our structures.
Folks, I do not need to tell you how serious this situation is, not only for de Benneville Pines, but for the entire mountain. The teams are shorthanded due to the sharing of resources with other fires, but the fire fighters are pressing onward. Many of them have been working three and four days straight without much of a break. One fire fighter has lost his life.
If you have the time to watch a video of the drive from Angelus Oaks on Hwy 38, out to Barton Flats and then down Glass Road and around on a dirt road back up to Angelus Oaks (a loop), it gives you yesterday’s perspective on the fire along Hwy 38 as you are approaching Jenks Lake/Barton Flats area. You can see smoke wisping up thru the pine tree tops at places close to Jenks Lake West and Hwy 38. You can also see a lot of smoke coming up on the north side of the highway where the fire jumped downhill of 38 and has been burning in and around the 120-year-old Stetson Apple Orchard. Our hearts are filled with sadness for the owners of the orchard. They have poured their heart and soul into preserving the heritage orchard and its structures. Click here to watch the video of driving tour.
Photo (l) View from apple orchard toward valley below fall 2019. Photo (r) The brown line is Hwy 38. Stetson Ranch is located on north side of highway about 3/4 mile before the Jenks Lake Road W turn.
Santa Monica UU Church is holding a concert tonight to raise money for the camp’s emergency fund. Here is a link to the Facebook page about the concert if you would like to enjoy their garden concert and help raise money for camp at the same time.
We will have additional news by tomorrow on the state of our camp. Keep the positive energy flowing up to the mountain tops, and let’s all remember we have UU’s near other fires who have evacuated as well. You can donate to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund by clicking here to help support displaced UU’s who have been affected by fires and hurricane evacuation.
One piece of good news, the evacuation order has been partially lifted and the residents of Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls are being let back in their homes.
Daisy Doodle and I send you our best,
Your Beloved Camp
El Dorado Fire Perimeter Map as of 9/18/20
Map from this morning showing file line in red and Camp in green.