Historic Camp Sacramento narrowly escapes the Caldor Fire

Camp Sacramento, a century-old family camp and conference center in the Eldorado National Forest, narrowly escaped the path of the Caldor Fire over the weekend as fire crews protected the 14-acre property from nearby flames.

“The fire couldn’t have come any closer than it did to Camp Sacramento,” said City of Sacramento Recreation Manager Jackie Beecham. “We are extremely grateful to the fire crews working to protect this community gem.”

“The fire burned up to the line of the cabins,” said Sacramento Fire Dept. Captain Keith Wade. “All the buildings are intact and there is no damage at this point.”

Just across Highway 50 from the camp, at least a dozen cabins burned, according to a Sacramento Bee report.

“To protect the camp, fire crews from all over the state, including Sacramento Fire Department, and outside the state have worked around the clock clearing brush around the cabins and other areas that were threatened,” said Sacramento Fire Deputy Chief Mike Taylor. “The biggest challenge in the area is the weather, topography and the dry drought conditions. Crews are exhausted as they are fighting the fire around the clock.”

Crews were able to utilize water at Camp Sacramento and secure hoses on site, which helped them create defensible space around the camp, Taylor said.

Camp Sacramento, which is operated by the City of Sacramento, is made up of more than 60 rustic cabins, most built in the 1930s. Camp’s facilities also include a dining hall, lodge, camp store, nurse’s office, as well as sports courts and campfire pits.

Camp Sacramento this year celebrated its 100-year anniversary of serving families in the Sacramento region. Each summer, the City hosts multiple family camps and weekend rentals at the facility about 90 miles outside of Sacramento.

Post-season weekend rentals scheduled for August and September were canceled prior to the mandatory evacuations. All family camp sessions were already wrapped up for the season. The camp’s staff evacuated last week as a precaution.

Crews continue to work to protect Camp Sacramento, and although it made it through the weekend, that doesn’t mean it is safe from the fire, Sacramento fire officials said. On Monday, crews worked to put out hot spots and mop up in the area in case of a weather or wind change, Deputy Chief Taylor said.

“We are monitoring the situation up there very closely, and our hearts go out everyone who has been affected by the Caldor Fire and this devastating fire season,” Beecham said.

As of Monday morning, the Caldor Fire had grown to 177,260 acres and was 14 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. 


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