[LA FEATURE]California Wildfires

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Coverage of brush fires across the state

Bay Bridge Closure, Rim Fire Alter Labor Day Weekend Plans

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Labor Day weekend plans were altered due to the Bay Bridge closure and Rim Fire. George Kiriyama reports. (Published Friday, Aug 30, 2013)

    Ari Tamura had his Labor Day weekend planned out. He envisioned his family camping out near Lake Tahoe.

    But a couple of things happened that forced him to come up with a Plan B.

    "The Bay Bridge being closed," Tamura said. "We wanted to avoid that at all costs."

    And the Tamura family wanted to avoid the smoke from the Rim Fire near Yosemite that was drifting over to Tahoe.

    "Definitely, we wouldn't want to be stuck in some fire situation so definitely steer clear of that," Tamura said of why he changed plans. "So we just came this way instead."

    Where they ended up was the Sanborn County Park campground -- a short drive from their home in Pacifica.

    "We love it. This is my first time here," Tamura said.

    Other campers like Linda Sherburne from Saratoga heard horror stories from friends who tried to go camping in Tahoe last weekend.

    "They had planned on staying for five days and they wound up only staying one night because they got there and the smoke was much worse than they had hoped it would be," she said.

    Many local campgrounds like Sanborn said they are booked solid for the holiday weekend.

    The Tamura family said they don't mind spending their dollars locally.

    "There's enough to go around," Tamura said. "Yosemite shouldn't mind so much."

    Just 30 miles from the heart of the fire is the historic town of Groveland.

    It is usually packed with tourists on a Labor Day Weekend, but on Saturday, lakes, beaches, and businesses in the area are deserted.

    A front desk worker at a hotel said while it remains open, there have been 130 cancellations since the beginning of the fire.

    "We've had a lot of cancellations because of that (the fire) on what would be the start of Labor Day weekend, kind of the end of the summer and a very, very busy time," Hotel Charlotte employee Linda Struhm said. "We just don't have the business at all right now."

    Many other businesses are shutting down this weekend.