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The remains of Gindling Hilltop Camp that burned down during the 2018 Woolsey Fire in Malibu, California.
The remains of Gindling Hilltop Camp that burned down during the 2018 Woolsey Fire in Malibu, California.Photographer: Alisha Jucevic/Bloomberg
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Climate Adaptation

Summer Camps Endangered By Wildfires, Smoke and Heat Waves

Parents and camp directors in California, Colorado and Arizona face hard choices as climate disasters threaten these programs.

As California parents sign up their offspring for summer camp amid forecasts of another potentially catastrophic wildfire season, an existential question looms over the annual ritual: will camp still be standing come July?

The climate-driven megafires of recent years are threatening the future of summer camps, endangering a century-old tradition of spending school holidays in the pristine pine-scented air of the state’s lushly forested mountain ranges. Since 2013, wildfires in California have destroyed historic summer camps from Malibu to Tahoe. Urban camps, meanwhile are adapting to a new climate of uncertainty as heat waves and toxic smoke from faraway fires upend their business.