By Melanie J. Knox, Opinion Editor
The wildfires in California continue to rage, destroying more than 1,100 homes and ravaging more than 600,000 acres. Firefighters cannot control or extinguish the flames, and the fire’s far-reaching heat has even reached Abilene through the worries and thoughts of students.
Katie Brophy transferred to Pepperdine University from ACU this year.
Brophy, a sophomore psychology major from Abilene, said that two of her psychology professor’s family members lost their houses.
“What can you do?” she said. “They packed three changes of clothes, grabbed some pictures and left. He was really upset.”
Brophy said that other professors who live outside San Diego aren’t coming to work.
“They’re afraid that while they are gone, the fires will come up and burn their homes,” she said.
No classes have been cancelled, but Brophy said that some professors either haven’t shown up or have has substitutes. Intramural games were cancelled as well.
“I didn’t even want to go outside,” Brophy said. “It smells like a campfire.”
Although Brophy’s family isn’t in California, her friends and their families are being affected, and she said that she over hears a lot of conversations between people who are really scared, and her suite mate’s family is evacuating their home as well.
“She just kept crying,” she said.
Pepperdine is out of immediate danger as of Tuesday morning, according to their emergency operations line, and the university is in full operation, but firefighters are on call on campus 24 hours a day.
Brophy and a service team made cookies for the firemen and prayed for them, and she asked for prayers of ACU students as well.
“Any shift in the wind could bring the fire this way,” she said. “We’re in a bowl sort of in the mountain, so we have been very safe, but we need prayers for the families who have lost lives and homes.”
Kimberly Price, senior integrated marketing communication major from Silicon Valley, Calif., is looking to start at fund raiser at Baker Heights Church of Christ to collect either canned foods or checks to families who have lost all their material possessions.
“I kept hearing about so many losses of homes and families need essentials not just during the holidays,” she said. “It’s a natural thought to have, and I’m also supporting my state.”
While the fire is not close to Price’s hometown, many of her friends live in San Diego, going to school at San Diego State or the University of California in San Diego.
“They said the sun is red all the time because of the smoke and that it looks like the dead of night in the middle of the afternoon,” she said.
One of her friends, Price said, has a white car that is now covered in black ash.
“No one is going outside,” she said.
Nick Hester, freshman electronic media major from Rancho Chucamonga, Calif., said his family is having the same problem.
“My parents said there is ash in the pool and all over our cars,” he said. “It’s very hazy.”
The neighborhood about a mile from Hester’s house has been evacuated and his parents can see the fire at night from their house, but he said they aren’t too worried.
“Where we are, the fire is pretty under control,” he said. “We always have fire in the summer, but it’s never been this close.”