Photo Credit: Mendocino California Sheriff's Department
Looking east on Hwy 20 towards the Mendocino Complex fires in Mendocino County, California

A venerable West Coast Jewish summer camp that dates back as far as 1925 was forced to cancel its final session of the summer due to what has become the worst-ever wildfire in California state history.

Camp Tawonga is a 160-acre overnight camp located a few miles west of Yosemite National Park in the Stanislaus National Forest.

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It’s a beautiful site; and some 300 campers and their families are fervently hoping it will still be there by next year.

Just two days into the final summer session of the year, on July 31, the entire camp was evacuated due to the dangerous air quality surrounding the area caused by the local “Ferguson Fire” — part of the statewide rash of what has become the largest rash of wildfires in state history. Of those, at least 40 campers had to say with other families, at least initially, because their own homes were in jeopardy.

So far nearly 600,000 acres have been blackened by some 18 blazes across the state, and 11 people killed in the conflagrations, with hundreds of U.S. Army personnel and more than 14,000 firefighters battling the flames, some of them from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

Over the weekend President Donald Trump approved declarations of disaster zones in order to free up federal disaster assistance for area residents, such as temporary housing, home repairs and other programs.

A Google crisis response map of the state, showing the location of every current fire, can be accessed by clicking here.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.