Tiffani Thiessen Says Family Cabin Is in the Path of 'Dangerous' Wildfire: 'My Heart Is Heavy'

The Saved by the Bell alum tells PEOPLE that her family's longtime cabin in the Sequoia National Forest, which her grandfather built in 1963, is in danger

Tiffani Thiessen Cabin
Photo: Rebecca Sanabria

Tiffani Thiessen has described her family cabin in Sequoia National Forest as her "second home" and "happy place," but she may be in danger of losing it.

Last week, the Saved by the Bell alum, 47 and her family were in a race against a raging wildfire to save the sentimental items within the home, which was built in 1963 by her grandfather and has served as a getaway for her extended family. It's also where Thiessen, her actor husband, Brady Smith, their daughter Harper, 11, and son Holt, 6, socially distanced together during the pandemic.

The actress and her mom drove from Los Angeles to the timber-framed vacation home to clear out their most precious mementos, as it is now in the path of what's being called the Sequoia and Kings Canyon Complex Fire, which also threatens some of the planet's most ancient trees — including the world's largest giant sequoia, General Sherman.

"My grandfather fell in love with the Sequoia National Forest while camping with his family in the 1950s. It was then that he knew he wanted to build a cabin there," Thiessen says.

Tiffani Thiessen Cabin
Rebecca Sanabria

"This same cabin was the one I spent every summer at growing up and I now continue to enjoy with my own children," she continues. "The giant sequoias have been a big part of my family finding joy and solace. The memories we continue to create in this special place are priceless."

The actress is now urging all who can help, to donate to the recovery efforts for the wildfire, including KNP Complex Fire Recovery Fund for the Sequoia National Park. The blaze has continued to burn out of control since a lightning storm ignited several blazes in the area on September 9.

"I have made a donation, and we hope you will too," she says. "My heart is broken at the images I continue to see. But I am so grateful for all of the firefighters working tirelessly to get these fires contained."

Tiffani Thiessen Cabin
Rebecca Sanabria

"My heart is heavy again thinking our little cabin could be in danger. We have been given a warning to evacuate because of the approaching fires," the star wrote on Instagram earlier this week. "My stomach is literally in knots. As you might know, this special little place was built by my grandfather in 1963 and is filled with countless family memories. To think it could be taken from us, is hard to wrap my head around."

Virgin River star Martin Henderson, the first celebrity ambassador for Sequoia Parks Conservancy (the official nonprofit partner to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park) has called the area his "favorite place to escape Hollywood," and is also pleading with fans for help amid the complex fire.

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"The parks have and continue to provide a great deal of inspiration, solace and wonder for me and I have always treasured the magnificence and power of the Sierras and particularly the giant Sequoias," he tells PEOPLE. "It breaks my heart that this incredible resource is under threat and I'd like to encourage everyone who values nature to please donate to help save these trees that can't help themselves."

Donations to the KNP Complex Fire Recovery Fund for Sequoia National Park will fund efforts to rebuild trails, protect sequoia groves and meadows, safeguard cultural and historic features, reestablish access to Crystal Cave, restore wildlife habitat and more.

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