SAN FRANCISCO - With thousands of people forced from their homes by wildfires in three Northern California counties, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has pledged to continue to provide available space to accommodate evacuees at two Corps-operated campgrounds in the area free of charge, officials said.
Fires in bone-dry Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties have been burning for weeks, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses and prompting the Corps’ San Francisco District to open some of its Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino campsites to those displaced by the blazes. “It is our duty and responsibility to assist these people in any way we can and that is why we are opening up these campgrounds to those who have been evacuated, including those who have lost everything,” said Lt. Col. John Morrow, commander of the Corps’ San Francisco District.
The Corps has cleaning contracts in place and the water and showers are turned on at Lake Sonoma’s Liberty Glen campground and Lake Mendocino’s Bushay campsite. “Our level of involvement at this point is to open our doors and give the evacuees space to rebuild, to get their lives back together,” said Christopher Schooley, supervisory park ranger at Lake Mendocino.
“I would expect that as word gets out and people can get over here, we may have an increase in evacuees coming,” said Schooley. “We will continue to evaluate the situation as to whether we need to open up new campsites. We are going to be there for the public,” he added.
The fires in the three California counties north of San Francisco are estimated to have burned more than 76-thousand acres of land in a region where four years of drought have pushed the threat of wildfires extremely high.
A child at Lake Mendocino’s Bushay Campground, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where evacuees from wildfires Northern California have taken refuge.