Fire’s Burning Through Southern California Affect Cam High


Ian Lattimer

The Easy Fire, burning just 12 miles east of Camarillo, covered the city in smoke on the morning of October 30, 2019.

Last week, three days of school were cancelled due to unpredictable air quality caused by high winds and brush fires.

Cam High’s Principal Mr. Matthew La Belle sent out an email on Tuesday afternoon declaring a minimum day for Wednesday due to high wind expectancy. After the email was sent, strong Santa Ana winds caused a destructive brush fire to erupt in Simi Valley around 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

According to CamarilloWeather, on Wednesday morning, the air quality index in Camarillo was 201-300 (very unhealthy) and during the day raised to 301-500 (hazardous) due to the Easy Fire, which started near Easy Street and passed the Ronald Reagan to Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks. 

“When I was a parent, I would always send my kids to school, and I always felt that the administration had the kids health as a priority. Yet, none of my kids had breathing issues so I sent them but otherwise I would have made them stay home.” said Michele Sveiven, librarian. 

Along with colleges such as Moorpark College, Oxnard College, and Ventura College, many schools and districts located in and around Camarillo were closed due to unhealthy air quality, power outages, and mandatory evacuations. This included: ACE Charter High School, Briggs School District, CAPE Charter School, Phoenix Los Nogales School, Pleasant Valley School District, Santa Rosa Technology Magnet School, Somis Union School District, and VCOE Career Education Center in Camarillo. 

“I don’t like how we are forced to be here when it is clear that the wind is causing problems and that the smoke is blowing this way. I get that they want us to have an education and we should be in school and learning but also our health is very important especially when the middle schools right next door to us, literally down the street from us, aren’t at school today and we are considered a sensitive group so it doesn’t seem fair or correct” said senior Katelyn Raney when asked about the minimum day.  

Jonathon Ortega, school supervisor, disagreed with the district’s decision as he said, “I don’t really think we should be here we are the only school open Camarillo.” 

On Wednesday, some students living in Santa Rosa had limited power or had to evacuate.  

“It’s really scary going to bed fine and waking up to smoke and questioning if you need to be ready to go if the fire comes. I live in Santa Rosa Valley and there’s a lot of dry bush on the hills nearby ready to burn and its downwind of the fire so it was pretty concerning” said Jeanne Petron, senior.

School was cancelled on Thursday and Friday due to the Maria Fire that started on Halloween night and spread 9,400 acres. Saturday school and SAT testing to take place on Nov. 2 were both cancelled.