Summer camp evacuates kids during Anchorage wildfire, adapts to 2019 fire season

Leaders of an Alaska summer camp say this year's wildfires have forced them to change plans more than once this season.

A large brush fire in East Anchorage forced the Trailside Discovery Camp to evacuate their staff and campers Tuesday evening.

The camp, which is run by The Alaska Center Education Fund, and the Campbell Creek Science Center were notified of the wildfire burning nearby around 5:08 p.m. and notified of the evacuation order via an alert from the Anchorage Police Department.

In total, 11 campers and 8 staff members were on site and everyone was able to gather in a parking lot before walking over to the Smokejumper Trailhead, a release from The Alaska Center stated. It took less than 5 minutes to evacuate the camp, which was then relocated to Fred Meyer grocery store on Abbott Road.

All campers were reunited with their parents by 6:30 p.m. according to the release.

In addition to The Alaska Center's Trailside Discovery Camp, the center's Quest Trips in Seward and the Kenai Peninsula have been impacted by wildfire activity.

"Despite the difficulties that have come along this summer with the Swan Lake fire affecting our quest trips and now this brush fire affecting our camp in Anchorage we have been having an incredible and safety first summer," camp director Victoria Long-Leather said. "We are still able to offer great programming, we are just adapting and in turn growing because of it."

Both Long-Leather and program manager Mary Hunt expressed their gratitude to the emergency personnel for their fast response. They will continue to monitor progress as the fires continues.

The camp was able to continue their scheduled programs Wednesday morning without issue.

By Daniella Rivera

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