- Several colleges in Northern and Southern California have closed as two massive, deadly wildfires push people from their homes, close roads and degrade air quality in two separate areas of the state.
- As of Monday morning, the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles was 91% contained while the Camp Fire north of Sacramento was 65% contained, CBS reported. The latter is now the most destructive wildfire in modern state history, according to The New York Times.
- Air quality conditions in cities near the Camp Fire, such as Chico, Modesto and Stockton, are forecast as "very unhealthy" for Monday, per the Air Quality Index. The air quality in San Francisco, Fresno and Merced is forecast as "unhealthy."
The University of California System's colleges in Berkeley, Davis and Merced are closed through the Thanksgiving holiday, as are California State University System campuses including those in Chico and Sacramento. California Community Colleges locations including Butte College and Santa Monica College also are closed through the holiday.
Pepperdine University — where officials faced criticism for following their longstanding practice of encouraging students to shelter in place during fires — is closed through Nov. 26. The Woolsey Fire crept close to Pepperdine's Malibu campus, and it claimed a small research building also in Malibu owned by UCLA.
Beyond air quality, colleges will also contend with the losses experienced by learners, faculty and staff. Some campuses kept dorms open for students whose families had been displaced.
"Some of our students and their families have lost homes or are still waiting to learn the fate of loved ones," UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland wrote in a campuswide letter. "Some will remain on campus through the holiday break because it is safer or healthier than returning home."
Cal State Chico said 15% of its campus community had reported their situation to the university as of Nov. 14. Of that group, 1,640 people indicated they been affected by the California wildfires, with 727 having evacuated or been displaced and 166 losing their homes.
The California Community Colleges system established a relief fund for students, faculty and staff. And the California State and UC systems each extended their application deadlines for fall 2019 applicants affected by the fires.
It has been less than a year since colleges in Southern California were threatened by wildfires. Last December, several fires canceled classes and closed campuses in the region.