13 Tahoe National Park hikers reunite with parents after camping in Royal Fire zone

Thirteen young people who were hiking in the Tahoe National Forest as a wildfire raged nearby were reunited on Monday with their parents. 

"Relief, so relieved, so happy," Jack Henna, the father of a 19-year-old, told KCRA-3. "It was the period of time where I didn't know what was going on. I know they are capable kids but it was pure relief."

His son and 12 other childhood friends had parked their cars Sunday at the Palisades Creek trailhead, near the southern burn area of the Royal Fire, which was two miles away. The friends were 16 to 19 years old. 

The Placer County Sheriff's Office spotted the empty cars and called their owners, who happened to be the teens' parents.

Karla Hurd, who has two sons in the group, got that call.

"We didn't know if they were caught up in the fire or trying to outrun it back to their cars," Hurd told KCRA-3. "We weren't sure how they were handling the situation."

The parents couldn't reach their children by phone and got worried. 

By 7 a.m. Monday, a sheriff's helicopter found the teens' sleeping bags on a rock outcropping inside the Tahoe National Forest and they sent in a search and rescue team to hike out with them.

The teens and their parents reunited in the afternoon, hugging each other in the wooded forest. 

"When we were close to it, I like was thinking of all the possibilities of what could happen," Michael Tait, 19, told KCRA-3. 

As of Monday, the fire had burned about 170 acres. 

Cal Fire crews said they believe the fire was started by a camp fire.  

The teens live in the Arden Park area of Sacramento and have been friends since kindergarten, KCRA-3 reported. They've gone on the same four-day camping trip the past three years and plan to go back next year.