So. Cal. blaze forces Biola students’ families to evacuate


Photo by Ron Bartlo

Flames inch towards homes in Portola Hills on Monday night. Firefighters waited to defend the houses until the blaze was a few yards from the property. By 3:00 a.m. Tuesday, the fire was contained.

The devastating wildfires that continue to ravage southern California since the weekend have had a major impact not only to the areas in flames, but also to the staff and students of Biola University.

Many students and staff have received the unsettling news that their friends, family and loved ones have been evacuated from their houses.

Briana Binstock, an Alpha Chi resident, was at home when she was notified about the evacuation.

“My whole family, relatives and friends got evacuated,” she said. “Right now my house is fine but the wind has shifted and it is headed towards Canyon, and my house is near Canyon.”

Freshman Briana Medina is in a similar situation.

“So far my house is fine, but my family got evacuated and my mom is at my aunt’s house in another city.”

Binstock and Medina added how they were “scared and nervous for the family that we know… we want to everyone in San Diego safe.”

While Biola is far from the fires, the signs of the devastation are evident. In every parking lot at Biola, cars are covered with dust and ashes. Students walking around the campus cup their hands over their noses to avoid inhaling the ashes and dust.

The number of students eating outside the cafeteria lessened as students tried to avoid the smoky air. Sophomore Christina Lewin explained how she had to cover her glass of milk with her hand in order to keep ash from falling into her cup. Her clean pants were marked with ashes after eating on the patio.

Another student, Kesslyn Martin, a runner on the Biola track team, said, “It is very hard to see while driving, due to the smoke in the air… runners had to run in the gym because it is harder to breathe and your eyes get watery.”

With more than 500,000 southern Californians evacuated, the administration is looking for ways to help.

“We want to prayerfully support those who are going through a hard time,” said University President Barry H. Corey in an interview with The Chimes. “Our hearts go out to those who were affected by the fire in Southern California.”

He mentioned that he was in touch with Provost Gary Miller so that he and his staff can pray and support the students and staff who are going through hardship.

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