GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Nearly 150 Scouts put their preparedness to the test Wednesday when a fire threatened the Spanish Peak Scout Ranch.
“The Scouts actually helped do the evacuation. They were very organized, very structured. It’s a good program regardless, but they train for stuff like this. They train to help people. The older staff got the younger staff in and out as quick as possible with no problems at all,” said Luie Orozco, father of two evacuees.
Orozco had two sons working as camp leaders at the Boy Scout campsite which is near Walsenburg in southern Colorado.
The Scouts only had minutes to get out before the fire reached the ranch.
“It’s my understanding that the kids got off the mountain with pretty much the clothes on their backs. They didn’t get any of their gear, sleeping bags, anything like that so it directly affects them.”
“Initially all they saw what was an ash shower. Once that kind of spread, then they saw the flames coming over the ridge, and they realized that they needed to evacuate. From the time that the evacuation order was given, they had over 200 people evacuated in less than an hour,” said Eric Relph, Garden City Boy Scout troop leader.
The East Peak fire has burned around a thousand acres with zero percent containment.
The evacuees included about 60 people. It included Scouts and leaders from Lakin, Deerfield, Garden City and Liberal.
They stayed in a shelter last night at a local high school and are on their way back home.
Officials say due to the fire, other boy scout troops who were scheduled to camp at Spanish Peaks later this summer will likely be sent to other campsites for their trips instead.
Orozco says he’d like to plan a fundraiser for the boys who lost their valuables in the blaze.