All camp buildings and outdoor venues survived the fire thanks to the incredible work of a fire crew from San Bernardino County Fire. That is the good news. Going forward the camp remains closed and our camp staff will not be allowed to return to their on camp home anytime soon. There is a tremendous amount of work ahead for the US Forest Service and local officials to survey the entire burn area working to determine occupancy risk and come up with a plan to move forward. While residents of Angeles Oaks have been allowed to return to their homes occupancy of camp remains unclear.
All that is certain at this time is that in the near future camp staff, contractors, volunteers will be allowed to access camp during the day (no over night stay) to work on camp clean up and prepare for the winter rainy season. The general consensus by local authorities and experts (camp hired civil engineer) is that the winter will bring mudslides, not if but when and how bad. The work that lies ahead will be implementing a massive erosion control project along the south (up hill side) of camp extending from the Maintenance building to the beyond the staff house a distance of several hundred yards. The manpower needed and cost of this project is overwhelming and the total focus of the board of directors and camp staff.
How can you help? Our camp staff will need long-term housing. The best case is our onsite staff will be allowed to return after the area has been deemed safe and fire/smoke mitigation work on staff housing is complete. The worst case, as has been done after other fires, is that the forest service will close access to the entire area, including camp, for a year or more to allow time for forest regrowth and minimize the risk of mudslides. The call for volunteer work parties will come when we have access to the site and have put together a comprehensive recovery plan.
Camp de Benneville Pines
Posted by Chrisw Faller