Smoke from nearby fires impacts campus

Kaitlin Musante

Clouds of smoke hung over campus Tuesday morning after wind-fueled fires swept through Ventura and Sylmar Counties. The fires burned a combined area of 60,000 acres and damaged over 160 homes.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air quality on campus is currently unhealthy for sensitive groups and children should reduce prolonged exertion. The school sent out a warning via the school’s Emergency Notification System that all athletic activity on campus has been canceled for the day and students have been advised to stay indoors.

President Rick Commons said that while the fire is not currently close enough in proximity to school to cancel classes, its progress is being monitored. Other schools, such as Santa Monica High School, Milken Community School, Chaminade High School, Notre Dame High School, Oaks Christian High School and Buckley High School, have canceled classes due to the fires. Buckley and Notre Dame are under two miles away from campus.

LA City Councilmember Paul Krekorian sent a message Tuesday to members of City Council District Two, an area including much of Studio City and North Hollywood, about the fire in Sylmar.

“If you are in a smoke or ash-filled area, please close your windows and doors and stay inside,” Krekorian said in the message.

Students have said that they have experienced symptoms of decreased air quality, such as difficulty breathing, burning eyes, coughing and headaches.

“My eyes are getting red from all the smoke in the air and all of the dust and ash swirling around in tornados around campus,” Mila Fejzo ’19 said.

Students with asthma said that the level of smoke in air has raised further health concerns, as the particle pollution caused by wildfires can trigger asthma attacks.

“Since the smoke was really bad [Tuesday] morning, I had to bring my inhaler to school because I was worried I would have an asthma attack,” Grace Swift ’19 said. “I was scared for my health.”