Cabin fire at Bohemian Grove awakens campers

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Several campers at the super-exclusive Bohemian Grove in west Sonoma County were awakened Wednesday by a cabin fire — the result of flames that escaped a nearby firepit during the night, Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman said.

No one was injured, though the blaze caused an estimated $150,000 in damage to the cabin and to wooden decking that partially surrounds the firepit, Baxman said.

Emergency dispatchers said the fire occurred in Valhalla Camp, one of 115 member camps located inside the 2,700-grove, where the powerful and wealthy Bohemian Club holds a summer encampment each July.

Baxman said the flames burned across and under the decking, and caught the cabin exterior on fire before flames got inside and awakened people sleeping there.

The fire was reported shortly after 7 a.m.

Two firefighters who work for the grove already were spraying water on the fire with a small pump when public fire personnel arrived from Monte Rio and Russian River fire departments, Baxman said.

Conveniently for firefighters, Valhalla Camp is located a short distance inside the main gate at Bohemian Avenue and up on a hill, Baxman said.

The firepit is set into the bank but open and exposed on one side, he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.

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