With the dry climate, California has always been prone to fires, but the recent escalating outbreaks are hitting close to homes and colleges.
As of October, more than 30 of California’s residents have lost their lives in what officials have deemed one of the deadliest fire seasons yet. Not only are lives and homes in the path of destruction, the many colleges and universities are also at risk as the state is “not even close to being out of this emergency,” according to Mark Ghilarducc, the director of California’s Office of Emergency Services.
Current colleges in the Bay Area and more recently Southern California, have been forced to cancel classes as they are on the lookout for potential fires. Students, including those as far as the University of Portland in Oregon have had to take time out of their semesters to comfort their family and friends living near Napa Valley, Santa Rosa and other counties that have already been devastated. Many of these students are needed to assist their loved ones with necessary repairs that could take them out of classes for weeks at a time.
Seniors looking to go to college in California are particularly affected by the fires.
Senior McKenzie Larson considered the fire risks before she applied to a University in California and believes that “the fires will affect me; the fires can spread quickly and degrade the air quality. However, I am sure that the firefighters are working tirelessly to put out these fires, and I would hope that they do not happen too often,” Larson said.
Senior Tiffany Vera did not think about any possible environmental risks before she applied, but even after consideration has not changed her decision. “If I do end up going there, the fires will definitely affect me — they’ll affect us all. But no place is perfect; we have hurricanes here, blizzards in the Northeast, and earthquakes and fires in the West. There’s going to be something “dangerous” or off-putting wherever you go, but that shouldn’t keep you from going somewhere you want to be,” Vera said.
In order to make a well-rounded decision, students with their eye on particular colleges, including California’s, should stay informed on the outbreaks and consider the risks of fires as well as the inconvenience of losing class days due to cancellations .