Sierra Unified School District in the Fresno County foothills is suspending online instruction for the week due to the Creek Fire burning in the Sierra National Forest.
Superintendent Alan Harris estimates up to 75 percent of district staff and students are being evacuated or have already been displaced by the fire.
“We need to get to safety, and get to security,” says Harris. “Once we do, then we’ll settle back into what’s happening with the learning.”
Harris says he and some staff are working out of Clovis North High School and Clovis Hills Church while the Sierra High School campus serves as the command center for agencies fighting the Creek Fire.
The blaze, he says, is unlike any the region has seen. Harris says a superintendent in Butte County, where the Camp Fire burned in 2018, advised him that his students may not see their homes or know if they're still standing, for three or four weeks.
“This is not a sprint, this is going to be a marathon,” says Harris. “As a colleague said, we aren’t even at the starting line yet.”
Harris says parents should check the district website for future updates and resources for evacuating. For now, he says, families can get student meals daily at the Clovis North Education Center. That’s also where the Red Cross has set up a temporary evacuation center for Fresno County.