CONCORD (KPIX) — Hundreds of homes and businesses near Lake Tahoe are endangered as the Caldor Fire continues to grow, but so is a piece of property beloved by tens of thousands of Bay Area residents.
As the fire bears down on Tahoe’s south shore, the wooded enclave of Camp Concord, owned by the East Bay city that shares its name, lies in its path.READ MORE: Environmental Whistleblower Sets Off Probe Into Illegal Discharge Of Petcoke At Port Of Benicia
“The last I heard it was about eight miles out,” said Dave Goldman. “There are roads in between camp that should help to buffer it. But, again, you just never know.”
Goldman is President of the Friends of Camp Concord which raises money to support the camp. Monday morning, it was in a thin yellow evacuation warning zone between the fire and Lake Tahoe.
But by afternoon the evacuation map showed the entire area in the red. The people left the camp a week ago to be safe, but the facility itself is still very much in danger.
“It would just be devastating for that to close,” said Goldman.
The camp has a history with wildfire, surviving the Angora Fire in 2007, which got to within a mile and a half of the facility. A group of Bay Area children had to be evacuated in the middle of the night to escape that fire.READ MORE: COVID: UCSF Researchers Examine Impact Of Coronavirus On Young Brains After 3 Teens Develop Psychosis
Camp Concord was built in the mid 1960’s and has been introducing the young, and the young at heart, to the pleasures of the camp lifestyle: swimming, canoeing, archery and, of course, the nightly campfire.
Generations of Bay Area residents have grown up at the rustic summer camp, including Steve Voorhies. It was his time working as a teen camp counselor that inspired him to eventually become Concord’s Director of Parks and Recreation.
“It’s just the kind of experience you can’t get anywhere else,” Voorhies said. “And that kind of experience, you carry with you through your whole life.”
Stewart James Williams had a unique experience of his own. He remembers being a 10-year old kid in 1969, watching the broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon landing from Camp Concord’s dining hall.
Williams, like others who visited the camp, came away with a life-long memory. And that’s something he gets to keep even if the worst should happen to the camp.MORE NEWS: Desperately-Needed Rainfall from 'Bomb Cyclone' Gives Hope For North Bay Drought Recovery
“Well, it wouldn’t be a sense of loss for me since I remember it as a child,” he said. “It would be a sense of loss for the future; for the kids who can’t go through it in the future.”