Wildfire Smoke Forces School Closures

Juan-Pablo Garcia, Staff Writer

Tragedy struck the town of Paradise, just north of Chico, as 79 people were killed by the most devastating wildfire and state history. Though far less tragic, the Camp Fire also had an impact here in the east bay, forcing the district to close its campuses on November 16 due to poor air quality.

During the week leading up to the Thanksgiving break, air currents funneled smoke south, into the central valley and then west through the delta and into the bay.  At times, AQI readings on campus were as high as 325, indicating severe health danger.

The news that school was canceled was announced during 7th period on November 15. Superintendent John Nickerson said the decision required consultations with principals, partner superintendents, board members, and a thorough study of AQI reading both outdoors and indoors.

Many students rushed out of classrooms cheering with the announcement was made to suspend school.

“I was glad to be out of school because I am going to Southern California to avoid the air,” said sophomore Victor Portal. Portal was tired of breathing in smoke so his parents decided to travel during Thanksgiving break.

“I appreciate that the school let us out a day early to avoid the smoke and put us out of harm’s way,” said sophomore Stephen Vojta.

Juniors Nikolai Vayner and Ivan Kovorsky left for Venice Beach, California. “We just wanna have a fun time without having to worry about hurting our lungs or getting smoke in our eyes,” said Vayner.