Hetch Hetchy

Dear Camp Mather Friends and Families,

As approximately 4,500 dedicated fire personnel grapple to contain the Rim Fire in the Yosemite area that has now burned over 192,000 acres, we wanted to continue to send updates regarding the status of Camp Mather, for which so many of you have expressed concern.

It has been a traumatic ten days, but the camp is safe.  No structures have burned, although we have incurred some minor damage to roads, irrigation, water pipelines, Birch Lake and most of all, our forest — but it is all fixable (perhaps the forest over much, much time).  We are still fighting occasional spot fires in and around the camp so we are not completely out of the woods, but the worst has moved on.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many, many people who continue to fight the fire and who have been instrumental in helping to keep our beloved camp safe from harm.

We owe an extra special debt of gratitude to Recreation and Park Department employees Mike Cunnane, Paul Spring and John Ascariz, who have provided invaluable support at the camp – ranging from pumping clean water, providing food to fire fighters, providing historical and geographical information and helping to keep the camp safe in whatever way they were asked.

Big thanks as well to Rec and Park’s Larry McNesby, Mark Buckman and Neil Hemming, who left yesterday for camp to supplement the efforts of Mike, Paul and John.  We will also be contributing an urban forestry crew to assist in damage assessments and recovery operations.

And, of course, the PUC and San Francisco Fire Department (particularly Assistant Chief Tom Siragusa) who inserted themselves quickly at the incident command post to ensure San Francisco’s assets were protected. And the list goes on….

We are working very closely with the PUC and a variety of other local, state and federal agencies.  Mather will be open for business for some time into the future, hosting the multi-agency recovery effort in our immediate area that will come next.

Once the embers have cooled – pun intended – we should discuss how we can best use this event which has brought so much attention to our camp to galvanize resources that will help us not just restore it, but protect it well into the future.

Thanks to all of you for the love, support, concern and attention you continue to invest.


Phil Ginsburg, General Manager
San Francisco Recreation and Parks