Wildland Fire Strikes Campo
Minor Damage to Track
by Lew Wolfgang
A wildland fire consuming an estimated 1200 acres of brush
ragged in and around Campo on Saturday, August 21, 1999. While homes
were threatened, the concentrated efforts of the California
Division of Forestry and other area fire departments prevented
significant damage. Seven helicopters and seven fixed-wing
aircraft were utilized to help fight the conflagration in a
difficult environment of rough terrain and shifting winds.
The fire appears to have started about one half mile to the
south-west of Campo.
Campo Depot looking west
The fire prevented the rail return of 160 Tecate passengers.
Alternative bus transportation was arranged and coordinated
by Rich Borstadt, Ann McVeigh and Jim Friedlan. All passengers were
returned to their automobiles in the Museum parking lot without
Tecate passengers return to Campo via bus
A Museum tank car containing 8,000 gallons of water was
utilized to help replenish several CDF fire rigs. The water
was stored in the car for just such an occasion.
A motorcar "Fire Speeder" was also pressed into service to extinguish
burning crossties and brush in front of the Campo Depot.
Museum volunteers helped CDF to the degree possible and
were also involved moving the rail equipment out of danger.
Museum tank car transferring
water to fire rig
Fire speeder prepares to depart to the west
As the afternoon wore on, the St. Vincent de Paul Center
donated hundreds of meals to the firefighters and Museum
Museum officials were surprised at how easily the green
meadow directly to the west of the depot burned. It had
been assumed for many years that the meadow would serve
as a fire break.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
Museum volunteer tends
to water transfer
View to the west from the
Brakeman Greg Perin tends to
the depot roof
The sun sets over fire and volunteers
Photos by Rich Borstadt
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This page last updated 8/23/99