SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The chief executive officer of United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County returned to Camp Whittier for the first time following the Whittier Fire which started Saturday afternoon.
Michael Baker, the club CEO, was spending time with his family this weekend when he received a call from own his co-workers letting him know a fire had just broke out and 80 people needed to be evacuated from Camp Whittier.
United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County manages and operates Camp Whittier, a popular campground. Baker has been unable to see the extent of the damages since Highway 154 has been closed off from non-residents. NewsChannel 3 took Baker up to the campground today.
"Sorry, it's hard to look at it. I have to admit it to you. It's a lot harder than I thought it would be coming up here," said Baker to Reporter Vicky Nguyen after he got out of the car.
The landscape at the campground's entrance is completely charred. Baker was not allowed to go past the entrance lines. Fortunately, the club has fire insurance, but they'll have to wait until fire officials allow Baker and management onto the rest of the property.
Baker credits the club's decision to remove weeds and create defensible space around the campground last month in preparation for the high wildfire season warnings.