Photo via Wikimedia Commons
A forest fire as it stands in Dec. 2017. Wildfires in California are causing problems for students at the university.

The University of Nevada, Reno, may be nearly 200 miles and over three hours away from Redding, Calif., but that doesn’t mean the effects of these fires are not felt on campus. Aside from the poor air quality in Reno due to blanketed smoke over the Truckee Meadows, the students of the university who originate from Northern California are seeing the effects first hand.

 

University freshman Catherine Schofield of Paradise, Calif. says the fires caused herself and those around to be inconvenienced daily. Although the flames never reached Schofield’s hometown of Paradise, the health warnings were the most difficult part she said.

“It was more of an inconvenience than anything because it would be so smoky you just couldn’t go outside,” Schofield said. “The sun would be orange and the skies would be hazy and smoky.”

The thick smoke reached even further than just California and Nevada.

“In early August, I went up to Crater Lake, Oregon, and it was so smoky you couldn’t even see the lake,” Schofield said. “It was so hazy from the smoke from the California fires.”

According to Schofield, the thick blankets of smoke surrounding her home were not just one fire or another.

“The Carr Fire was the closest, but it wasn’t just one or another,” Schofield said. “One fire would end and one fire would start. It was an ongoing chain of fire after fire.”

Luckily for Schofield, her family was not required to relocate. However, according to Schofield, she saw many of her friends with family from Redding that have had to leave their homes in fear of fire taking them over.

“They would have family members have to come down and live with them,” Schofield said.

The Carr Fire took Northern California by storm, demolishing nearly 230,000 acres to date. The Carr Fire came in at 7th on the rankings for the worst fires in modern California history. The Mendocino Complex fire also broke records this year by surpassing the Thomas Fire when it burned over 420,000 acres.

The wildfires are displacing families, burning homes and destroying thousands of structures. The Carr Fire took down 1,079 residential structures, 22 commercial structures and 503 others, according to Cal Fire. The Mendocino Complex Fire made up of the Ranch and River fire has collectively burned 157 residential structures and 123 others.

Although the Carr Fire was the in the top 10 most devastating fires in California history, Schofield recalls the Humboldt Fire as the most catastrophic to her family.

“In 2008, there was the Humboldt Fire and I did get evacuated during that one,” Schofield said. “That was probably the closest call since I’ve been alive.”

Understanding that a portion of the university student body originates from Northern California, the university extended their support for students affected by the fires.

“We stand with those in our Wolf Pack community that are affected by the recent wildfires,” ASUN wrote on Twitter. “We encourage students to reach out to resources available on campus as the fall semester approaches.”

ASUN advised on Twitter that any students affected by the fires reach out to campus resources such as Residential Life, Financial Aid, Counseling Services, Student Health Center, Pack Provisions and Admissions and Records.

While the fire season seems to be slowing with the Carr Fire 96 percent contained, the River Fire 100 percent contained and the Ranch fire 67 percent contained, the Reno Fire Department still advises residents to be aware of the threat of fire in the area.

“Due to our terrain, dry summers and high temperatures, fire is a real threat to Northern Nevadans,” Reno Fire Department writes on their website.

The Reno Fire Department advises that to prepare for disasters, residents should have a kit packed to assist in shelter or injury and a plan in case of evacuation.