Organizers give campers one of a kind experience despite wildfire proximity

AWHANNEE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tucked away in the town of Ahwahnee, you can hear children laughing and rockets launching.

But it is the Ferguson Fire burning just five miles away that is forcing a slight change of itinerary.

"They see the smoke. They walk out and smell it and they think 'oh no fire.' That's the one thing they fear the most because they can't hear," said Camp Pacifica Director Kimberlie Alcoriza.

She says the camp was designed for the hearing impaired and started 30 years ago.

Each summer, dozens of children are flown in from throughout California, by Angel's Flight.

Though the Ferguson Fire is burning close to 50,000 acres, organizers wanted to make sure Camp Pacifica went off without a hitch. They found a safe way to have fun by limiting time outdoors and organizing indoor activities.

"They only get one week to be with other kids that are just like them. You can't cancel on them we have to make it safe for them," said Alcoriza.

"There were concerns that came up but we made sure they didn't interfere with our camp," said Camp Pacifica Director Lisa Perez.

Perez started attending Camp Pacifica as a camper back in 1994. As she stood proudly by her cabin's flag she talked about why it was so important to give these children the same experience she had.

"This was my safe place, where I could run away be myself have fun with kids like me. It was really nice to have that," said Perez.

Fire officials say weather conditions have been favorable in strengthening containment lines.

The community is helping in the firefight. A lot of people have been dropping off water, supplies, even signs of support to make sure these crews know they are not in this alone.
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