California Educator

November 2014

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SCHOOLS IN WEED REOPEN AFTER DEVASTATING FIRE C O U R T E S Y P H O T O S Feature The Weed school evacuation plan worked, some schools emptying in less than 10 minutes. School staff are still processing their experiences — the chaos of finding families and loved ones cut off by the fast-mov- ing fire, the loss of entire neighborhoods. "Stuff can be replaced but people can't," says Weed Classroom Teachers Asso- ciation President Kim Coots. At the end of the day, about half the city was gone; 516 acres burned, more than 4,000 people were evacuated, and 157 homes were destroyed. One life was lost: an 85-year-old woman who fell and broke her leg while evacu- ating her home. A man was later arrested and charged with arson. School started again in mid-October, and CTA was there. "The assistance offered through CTA was won- derful," says Coots. "On the first day we came back, there was help with moving classrooms, and they pro- vided breakfast and lunch for the entire staff. It was so thoughtful of them." N M O N D A Y, S E P T . 1 5 , a wildfire r i p p e d t h ro u g h t h e c i t y o f Weed in Siskiyou County near the Oregon border. Fanned by strong mountain winds, the fire spread quickly, and authorities dashed through the streets telling people to flee. O Compiled by Jon Halvorsen and Cynthia Menzel Kim Coots 9 V O L U M E 1 9 I S S U E 4

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