December 16, 2018

Webster California campuses unaffected by fires

California has experienced the longest drought in the history of the United States since 2000. The drought in California was one of the causes of the 2018 forest fire, ‘Camp Fire.’

Webster University’s Los Angeles Air Force Base campus was not affected by the fires. According to campus representative Deborah Q. Marshall, the administration did not cancel any classes because of the fires.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) reported the death toll had gone up to 85 civilians and three firefighters. The Butte County Sheriff’s Office–the primary fire department dealing with the fires–announced officials still cannot account for 475 individuals.

Karla Toutlian, a Webster University student majoring in sports communication, has family in California. She said her family remained unharmed, but they dealt with the after effects, like the remaining smoke.

“I feel bad for everyone who lives there,” said Toutlian. “I’m from there and knowing that I can’t be home just to help.”

Toutlian said she is grateful for the service of the people who help or volunteer to fight the wildfires destruction.

“I have such gratitude for the men and women that went out there to fight these fires,” said Toutlian.

The wildfires went on a rampage destruction over the state. According to the campfire reports from CAL FIRE, 13,972 residences are destroyed along with 528 commercial buildings. 153,336 acres of land are burned to ashes.

According to the report, the crews of firefighters continue to patrol the fire area to extinguish hot spots.

On Nov. 25, CAL FIRE announced the line that remained wildfires in the area was contained

Arianna Arias, a Webster St. Louis student, also has family in California. Arias said her family worries about the leftover smoke as well.  She said they cannot go outdoors as often. Arias explained due to the smoke from the wildfires, it is hard for the people in California to breathe. She said her mother, a teacher, told her students to stay indoors.  

“[My mother] usually says to stay indoors, so [student] don’t get sick and so our breathing doesn’t get any worse, especially kids with asthma,” said Arias.   

Toutlian is glad that the community and other communities are helping each other in the need of crisis.

“I just hope that when people are rebuilding their homes they can be a little bit more considerate of the surrounding nature around them and just helping a neighbor out,”said Toutlian. “I know a lot of people are just coming together. I know the community is coming together and helping people rebuild their homes.”

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