California on fire

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California on fire


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The Cailfornia fires that started on Nov. 8 have, so far, caused 56 deaths and destroyed hundreds of homes and other buildings. The fires that started that Thursday were the Camp Fire in Northern California, the Woolsey Fire along the Ventura-Los Angeles county line, and the Hill Fire near Camarillo.

CI science teacher Ms. Karin Gramckow was one of the many to lose a home to the Woolsey Fire. She rented a home in the Santa Monica Mountains with her husband of little over a year.

Having helped her parents evacuate from Ojai last year due to the Thomas Fire, Ms. Gramckow decided to evacuate early as she knew how fast a fire could spread. A mandatory evacuation was later placed in the area near her home.

Ms. Gramckow was able to leave her home on Nov. 8 with important documents, some photos, and spare clothes. There weren’t many houses in Mrs. Gramckow’s neighborhood, but all the homes in the area were destroyed, she said. Two of her neighbors lost their lives.

Other Raiders were also affected by the fires. Caitlyn Rabaut, a senior, lives at the Point Mugu Naval Base. She was among several students at CIHS who were evacuated from their homes. After leaving Nov. 8 during a mandatory evacuation, she and her family had to drive for two hours to Santa Maria for a place to stay.

“We didn’t get back home until late Monday night. The fire made me feel scared, causing a panic attack,” Rabaut said.

Ms. Jenna Simpson, a CI English teacher, was also evacuated from her home in Camarillo Springs. Although her home was not damaged by the Hill Fire, she did have to face her son’s school being evacuated because the fire was near it.

“All I wanted was to be with him and get to him,” she said.

The Camp Fire is located in Butte County, CA. It has burned 140,000 acres and was only 40 percent contained as of Thursday morning. Over 10,000 structures have been destroyed, 8,756 of them being residential homes. Fifty-six deaths have been confirmed to have been caused by the fire and it essentially wiped out the town of Paradise, CA.

The Woolsey Fire, which has torn through parts of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, has burned 98,362 acres, claimed three lives and destroyed over 500 structures. It was 57 percent contained as of Thursday.

The Hill Fire is the other fire in Ventura County. It has burned about 4,500 acres and is 97 percent contained.

On Nov. 8, a while after the Hill and Woolsey fires had started, CI students left sixth-period classes to find a wave of smoke heading towards CI. Because of the hazardous air quality, OUHSD canceled school on Friday, Nov. 9, leaving students a four-day weekend.

Many students and parents were mad when students returned to school on Tuesday after the district retracted their original statement of school being canceled. OUHSD administrators had monitored the projected air quality closely before deciding to have school on Tuesday. The district was surprised, however, when a flare-up in the Woolsey Fire caused the air quality to become hazardous.

According to a district-wide email from Superintendent Dr. Penelope DeLeon, the school could not release students before the end of the school day legally. Students were given masks, but many students suffered from headaches and sore throats throughout the day.

After posting a picture of Ms. Veronica Mendoza’s class with students wearing masks on Twitter, Den Earl Dulos, a sophomore, was contacted by Bill Melugin from Fox News 11.

Melugin asked Dulos if he could interview him for Fox News 11 later in the day. In his interview Dulos and some other students advocated for their health concerns after being at school.

OUHSD cancelled school again on Wednesday due to the unpredictability of the air quality caused by the fires near Oxnard and Camarillo.

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