Raging Wildfires Close Schools In California

Wildfires throughout California have closed at least 119 schools in 13 districts, affecting at least 90,500 students.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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COVID is best known for closing schools all across America. However, there is something else that has been shuttering school doors in the United States, and it’s happening more often each year. The culprit? Weather. Floodwaters, extreme heat, and wildfires throughout various areas of the nation often close schools for weeks on end. In California, out-of-control forest fires often displace entire towns, and once again are closing schools across the state as the Mosquito fire and others wreak havoc. 

Each year, wildfires plague California residents in a situation that seems to get worse annually. The recent outbreak of a forest fire coined the Mosquito fire near Sacramento erupted following weeks of blistering heat waves throughout the west coast state. According to reports from EdSource, it is impacting more than 90,500 students already, and quite possibly more soon to come.

13 school districts across six counties began closing schools last week, accounting for 119 schools altogether. Many of them were in the direct path of the wildfire. Some weren’t near the Mosquito fire but nonetheless were affected by smoke that made air quality an issue in school buildings. 

Seven of the 13 affected districts are in Riverside County, where the separate Fairview wildfire has already burned more than 27,000 acres of land. Making the situation worse, a tropical storm is now threatening the area, which could lead to longer school closures. The storm is suspected to lead to power outages from heavy rains and high winds. What’s more, flash floods are likely. Following the fires, this could possibly lead to dangerous mudslides. 

So far, one school has sustained damage from the Mosquito wildfire, although it is unknown if others have reported any possible damage yet. In El Dorado County, flames damaged a playground at the Otter Creek School. Luckily, no one was hurt, and the school building itself appears undamaged. 

It currently remains unknown just how much damage schools in the danger zone have suffered from the Mosquito wildfire. Even if school buildings weren’t in the direct path of flames, school leaders are unsure of how much damage smoke may have done. For now, school leaders aren’t even allowed inside to assess any possible destruction. 

Given that the situation in California regarding wildfires and school closures is nothing new to the state, California government agencies work closely with schools to address the situation and attempt to relocate children to schools within safe areas until the affected buildings can safely reopen. The Governor’s office of emergency services handles these efforts. But for many students, there is little that can be done and school closures mean students are missing out on important academic hours. 


Climate change is affecting students and school closures at alarming rates.  A report from The 74 Million revealed that last year, more than one million students were kept out of classrooms across the United States just in September alone because of extreme weather. Right now, it is unknown when exactly these 95,000 students affected by California’s wildfires will be able to return to school, but what is known is that these incidents are occurring more and more.