Campus reopens after 9,000-acre brush fire

Campus has been reopened after being closed for two days due to a 9,000-acre brush fire, wrote University President Daniele Struppa in an Oct. 11 email.

“In all the years I have been at Chapman, this is the only time we have cancelled classes and operations for two consecutive days,” Struppa said.

According to Anaheim Fire and Rescue, as of Oct. 13, the fire is now 65 percent contained and expected to be fully contained by Oct. 17.

The fire had evacuation areas that were less than 5 miles away from Chapman, according to a Google interactive map of where the fire, mandatory evacuations, freeway shutdowns and evacuation centers are located. About 4,500 people were evacuated from areas in Anaheim, Orange and Tustin, but most returned to their residences after evacuation orders were lifted Oct. 11, according to the OCFA.

There was an orange glow over campus as the smoke and ashes from a 2,000-acre brush fire in Anaheim Hills covered Chapman Oct. 9 Some students covered their mouths as they walked around campus to avoid inhaling smoke. Photo by Jackie Cohen

Although Chapman’s campus was closed from Oct. 9 to Oct. 11, it was not evacuated and was not in the evacuation area, wrote Provost Glenn Pfeiffer in an Oct. 10 email.

The fire was reported at about 9:45 a.m. Oct. 9, causing two houses to ignite and necessitating evacuations and freeway shutdowns, Anaheim Fire Department Public information officer Daron Wyatt said during a Facebook livestream video posted to the Anaheim Fire and Rescue page. 

“You need to be prepared to evacuate and now is the time to do so. Take everything that you can that will sustain you for the next couple of days,” Wyatt said during the Facebook video.

The fire, referred to as the Canyon Fire 2, started near the Gypsum Canyon exit of the 91 Freeway, about 12 miles from campus, and spread to Orange Park Acres, which is about 5 miles from campus, according to the interactive map. 

About 1,450 firefighters are fighting the blaze, which has destroyed 25 structures and damaged 48, according to Anaheim Fire and Rescue.

The fire had evacuation areas that were less than 5 miles from Chapman’s campus. Graphic by Rebeccah Glaser

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