California fires affect students

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The fires in California may have calmed, but the affects of the flames still rage high, reaching not only the people immediately involved, but also friends and family members across the nation. 

UVSC student Adam Kenney Webb’s family was one of the 350,000 houses evacuated and nearly one million people displaced in southern California due to multiple blazes in the area. 

Webb’s father and step-mother live in Poway, about 25 minutes from downtown San Diego and right in the middle of the chaos. They were asked to leave their house shortly after the burning in San Diego County began.  

Many people in the area received little notice to evacuate due to the rate at which the fires were spreading. Many were required to leave almost all of their belongings behind, with no guarantee for the future.

"I was angry when I heard about the fires," Webb said. "My first thought was to call my family." 

Although he attempted to call home several times in the first few days, he was unable to reach anyone, but assumed he would have been notified if something was wrong. "I have more family there," says Webb. "I figured that they would call me."

Ultimately, the Webb family was given time to remove some of their belongings, and their house was not permanently damaged by the fire.

A few days later, they were allowed to return and continue on with life, but there are several other UVSC and local BYU students that were more greatly affected by this disaster.

"I have had a lot of friends that have lost homes–close friends," Webb said. "There was nothing really any of them could do. It’s sad."

In San Diego County alone, there were five separate fires burning, covering thousands of acres, with others in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Orange counties.

Although Webb feels sympathy for his family and others involved, it was hard for him to progress past the fact that the fires were allegedly started by arsonists.

"Curse those arsonists," Webb said. "This is not the first time they have done this, because a few years ago, we had another fire in Poway. That fire was started by arsonists too.

"All I have to say is a big thumbs down to the arsonists who started the fires and a thumbs up to the firefighters risking their lives to fight fires for everyone there. Thanks."