Fire misses Camp Peaceful Pines




Group of Camp Peaceful Pines campers
Courtesy of Camp Peaceful Pines

Junior/junior high/youth camp at Camp Peaceful Pines in Dardenelle, California

Camp Peaceful Pines in Pacific Southwest District is still standing after a close call with a wildfire this week.

"None of Camp Peaceful Pines was damaged by the fire," district executive Russ Matteson reported Monday evening. "Unfortunately almost everything else along Clark Fork Road (where the camp is located) was burned."

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A post on the camp's Facebook page Monday evening stated, "This just in from the Forest Service meeting: all structures still standing. A strike team was sent to save Camp Peaceful Pines! Please continue to keep Camp Peaceful Pines … in your prayers, and all those working around the clock to protect our forest!"

Matteson said work that has been done over the years to clear out dead trees and brush around the camp likely helped in saving it. He said it would be at least a week before anyone would be permitted into the area to inspect the site.

The camp, located high in the Sierra Mountains on Stanislaus National Forest land rented from the federal government, has offered camping programs and retreats for the district for more than six decades. No camps had been scheduled at Peaceful Pines this week, but a closing camp is planned for early September. A family camp and children’s and youth camps were held in July.

The Donnell Fire, one of many burning in California currently, started on Aug. 1. It has grown to cover more than 11,000 acres.

Aug. 17 update: Camp Peaceful Pines board chair Garry Pearson was able to visit the camp with a US Forest Service escort on Wednesday and found everything at the camp intact, although he noted that the fire came quite close to a few of the outer cabins. The Donnell fire has now charred more than 30,000 acres northwest of Yosemite National Park.

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