GOODWIN FIRE: Campers asked to voluntarily evacuate from summer camp
Although firefighters are starting to gain an upper hand on the Goodwin Fire, the still-burning wildfire meant there is a change of plans for 1,400 kids who were supposed to be enjoying a week at summer camp, as campgrounds near the fire were closed, and the kids asked to voluntarily evacuate.
The kids at Friendly Pines Camp are leaving, just four days into the camp's second session.
In the 77 years the camp has been open, it has never come to this.
"We hiked up to the Medicine Wheel, which is way off, and you could see it way off into the mountains.The smoke," said Sara Whitmire, who has been at the Friendly Pines Camp for the third year.
The Goodwin Fire has shut down Prescott National Forest, and nine summer camps along with it.
"This is the week or two weeks that they've been looking forward to and that they've been talking to their friends about and all that and it's over. And it is sad," said Kevin Nissen, the Director of Friendly Pines Camp.
Nissen said the only time he saw smoke from campgrounds was when the fire started on Saturday. Still, when Yavapai County called Wednesday night, they recommended the camp evacuate, out of an abundance of caution.
With that, Nissen began began preparing for all 240 campers to go home.
"We have people that are vacationing, we have people that are in Europe, we have people down in Mexico, people with jobs," said Nissen.
On Thursday, kids make the most out of a summer experience that was cut short, as they wait for their parents, many of whom are driving through the areas that have seen the biggest impact.
"I didn't believe it until there was highway patrol and police blocking the highways and directing traffic," said Jo Whitmire, who is the mother of a camper. "And then you can smell it. You can't see the mountains."
Friendly Pines has another session of camp that starts next week, and goes through July 22. Whether that session will also be canceled is still up in the air.