SoCal Fires Cause Air, Traffic Problems

ALEX TIMA
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Although the fires that swept through much of Southern California last week killed more than 20 people and razed more than 3,000 homes were miles away from Glendale College, the campus was not exempt from respiratory problems and traffic tie-ups caused by the conflagrations.

President Bush declared Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties disaster areas on Oct. 27, opening the prospect for federal aid to fire victim. The campus community has initiated a plan of its own to aid those who have suffered losses.

Gayla K. Chisholm, an administrative assistant in Instructional Services has set up a relief fund in cooperation with the American Red Cross. She will be taking monetary donations in AD 145 for the next two weeks to help those who have suffered from the terrible tragedy. Chisholm said that even the smallest donations make a big difference.

Even though the fire has not directly affected our area, Glendale students and staff are feeling the effects of the fire and they may not even realize it, according to the Health Center. There have been no specific complaints about the fire, but there have been increased complaints of itchy eyes, runny noses, and respiratory problems, said Mary Mirch, Associate Dean of Health Services. Students may not recognize the symptoms.

Mirch suggested that if students feel any of the symptoms, they should seek help. She also warned that because of the fires there are a lot of toxins in the air that might be a cause of the increased complaints.
“Activities should be limited until the air quality is improved in our cities,” said Mirch. “We are aware that people have been impacted and we are trying to help them deal with the devastation.” She added that students are welcome to visit the Health Center for help.

The fires have all been reported to be contained, thanks in part to the rains of last week. The down-side to the rains is that experts have predicted landslides in the deforested areas of the fires. More rain is forecast for the coming days.

The Health Center is located in SR and can be reached at ext. 5909. To make donations, call Chisholm, ext. 5897.