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Wildfires threaten homes of California natives

The wildfires burning through Southern California are threatening the homes of some Belmont students and their loved ones.

Fire crews are battling both The Woolsey and Brush fires, which have burned a combined total of 90,031 acres, as of publication, according to a CNN report on Monday morning.

For Belmont students from the area, it is heartbreaking to see all the damage to the place they call home, said sophomore Macey Alexander, a Westlake Village, California, native.

“Fortunately my house has not burned down, but it’s right in the path of the fire. We got lucky enough where the fire is stopped right at my fence line right now,” Alexander said. “Many of my close friends have lost their homes.”

Alexander is saddened to see all the damage when she returns home for the holidays, she said.

“Malibu is completely ruined, just seeing it breaks my heart. Some of my friends have nothing left,” she said.

Freshman Christina Gutierrez, from Moorpark, California, is discouraged that she is not able to help her friends who have lost everything.

“My friends from high school, many of their homes have burned down. My friends’ families are staying in hotels. Everyone is freaking out,” she said.

One of her biggest concerns is the fact that she can’t be there for her little brother, she said.

“I don’t think he understands. All he sees are people freaking out about their houses being burned down, and he thinks ours will too. It’s so hard being away from him.”

Although the fires have caused an immense amount of damage, there has been so much unity and support among the residents of the affected community, Alexander said.

“Everyone has become so unified in the sense that this is our home and will always be our home. California is a beautiful place, and we all have to continue working together,” she said.

Gutierrez has seen the same thing happen in her community as residents start to come together to help each other recover, she said.

“GoFundMe campaigns have been created for people who have lost everything. People are staying and working together,” said Guriterez.

From Nashville, Gutierrez is showing her support to her community by sending her love and prayers back home, she said.

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This article written by Marissa Avnaim. Photo courtesy of J.D. Laske.

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