By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Youth and adults with the Next Generation Climate Justice Action Camp were evacuated from the Lobster Creek Youth Campground Sunday after a grass fire started nearby and grew into the Lobster Creek Fire.

The Lobster Creek Fire has been determined to be human-caused and remains under investigation, according to Curry County Sheriff John Ward. He said members of the group were unwilling to provide information when asked about the cause of the fire.

Sheriff’s deputies have taped off the camp entrance.

The group said they “saw smoke and then a fire,” sheriff’s department Capt. Mick Espinoza said, adding that was all they were willing to say.

The camp was hosted by the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) and Rogue Climate.

Rogue Climate Director Hannah Sohl, one of the organizers of the youth camp, said, “A grass fire occurred near Lobster Creek Youth Camp. We are thankful to the first responders who assisted us in safely evacuating all of our youth and staff and who continue to fight the fire.”

Espinoza said the group consisted of about 20 youth and 20 adults.

The CLDC did not respond to calls or emails asking for comment.

The Oregon Department of Forestry last estimated the fire Tuesday at 450 acres and said it had been surrounded by fire crews

The camp aimed to provide campers information on environmental movement history, climate justice campaigns, how to plan and run a campaign, non-violent protest planning, media and outreach skills, decolonization trainings, as well as know-your-rights trainings, according to an outline posted on CLDC’s website.

The group’s website said, “The quickening climate disaster is intensifying the need for unified action and diverse partnerships more than ever before. Our present generation must be ready to stand up to this global crisis that connects the environment, economy, energy and social justice. Youth aren’t learning about these issues in schools.”

The camp was slated for youth ages 14 to 18 to gain knowledge and skills to organize for climate justice, according to the CLDC.

The CLDC’s website said they support movements that seek to dismantle the political and economic structures at the root of social inequality and environmental destruction. They provide litigation, education, legal and strategic resources.

Rogue Climate said it acts locally to help communities organize themselves to develop clean energy and climate action plans to make it easier for residents, businesses and agencies to transition to renewable energy sources and increase energy efficiency.

At the state level, it claims to help Southern Oregonians make themselves heard on state policies to promote clean energy and climate change.

According to Ward, fire investigators called in by the Coos Forest Protective Association were investigating the Lobster Creek Fire Tuesday, but had not determined the cause of the blaze.

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