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Burnt out: Wildfires sweep California

Students look to the skies as California struggles to deal with fires across state.  |  Photo Courtesy of NASA

 

Within the last week, several fires have swept the state of California, forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes.

trying to stay positive

The most severe of these fires have taken place in Northern California, where several fires in Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Yuba County and Napa County have scorched an estimated 170,000 acres and 3,500 structures, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I do have a… family member who actually lost their home near Sonoma, California,” said Michaela McCune, sophomore elementary education major. “The beautiful thing about it is that they’re really trying to stay positive about it and thank God that they’re alive.”

As of Oct. 12, the death toll has risen to 23 for the Northern California fires, and more than 25,000 people have been evacuated over the last week. One of the largest of these fires, the Tubbs Fire, has already burned around 28,000 acres, and is expected to burn much more as it is only 10 percent contained, according to the LA Times.

The situation in Orange County, though less severe, remains similar to the one in Northern California. On Monday afternoon, a fire broke out in the Anaheim Hills suburb of Orange County, and has since spread to over 9,000 acres. Smoke from the fire was visible from campus, as students watched the skies turn red with smoke.

'then I realized that it was smoke'

“I came out of the science building, and could look out over campus, and saw this huge cloud covering the sky,” said Ryan Reynolds, junior chemistry major. “At first I thought, ‘That’s a weird rain cloud’, and then I realized that it was smoke.”

The Orange County Fire Department estimates that the fire is now about 60 percent contained. The fires have caused the closure of all Orange Unified School District campuses, and have caused issues for residents all over the county.

People from all over the state are feeling the effects of the fires, including freshman nursing major Alicia Rivera.

“My mom’s best friend… had to evacuate” Rivera said. “She’s not close to the fire, but it still affected her.”

The Orange County Fire Department expects that the fire will be fully contained by Saturday, Oct. 14.

 

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