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California Ablaze

Brooke P., Campus Life Editor

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Recently in Southern California, a series of wildfires have occurred. The three main fires were the Thomas Fire, Creek Fire, and the Rye Fire. The Creek Fire started on December 5th, and ended on December 27th. It destroyed over 123 structures and burned over 15,000 acres. The Rye Fire started in Santa Clarita on December 5th as well, and burned over 6,000 acres. The Thomas Fire was the biggest and most destructive out of the three. It started on December 4th, and it grew to around 280,000 acres over the course of about a month. It consumed over 1,000 structures and forced over 100,000 Ventura County residents to evacuate. The Thomas Fire was the worst in areas like Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Ojai. The Thomas Fire was at total containment as of January 12th, much to the relief of citizens and firefighters alike. “I saw the fire in upper Ojai, I was in the middle of work when I got the evacuation notice. The farm that we used to live on had caught on fire, and we were able to evacuate some of the livestock and grab important belongings.” said A. Tree, an Ojai resident. “Our house was left untouched by the flames, but unfortunately we had to move due to the toxic ash that destroyed the inside and outside of our home.” Tree continued. Only two fatalities occurred due to the wildfires. One firefighter and one civilian were killed.

The fires caused many people and cities in the Southern California to be on standby for evacuation. Simi Valley was one of those cities. On Wednesday December 6th, all Simi Valley Unified School District offices and schools were closed due to the fires and smoke. Many outdoor activities and practices were canceled that week for fear of possible smoke inhalation. “During the worst part of the Rye Fire I could see the fire from our backyard, and there were ashes on our patio,” said Freshman I. Haro. During the fires many wildlife and pets died. In the worst part of the Creek Fire, 29 horses were killed on a ranch in Sylmar. Many people are now homeless and are struggling to rebuild their lives after this horrific natural disaster. The harmful effects of these events hopefully open the eyes of many Californians to the severity of wildfires. The recent wildfires can also help citizens be more aware of what we can do to both prevent them, and be more prepared.

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California Ablaze