The Clayton Fire that ravaged Lake County is expected to be out any day now, which means it's finally safe for students to return to school.
Lower Lake High School, north of Napa, was closed for a week because of flames. Nearly 200 homes were destroyed and 4,000 acres scorched after a serial arsonist allegedly set fire to the community. The blaze is 96 percent contained as of Tuesday.
"A lot of people just lost their homes, and it seems like practically the whole town is gone, but we'll pull through," said Gloria Schussoln of Lower Lake.
On Tuesday, relief was palpable on the faces of parents and faculty – all of whom credited firefighters for keeping them safe. Said firefighters were on campus Tuesday to greet returning students.
“The kids that I've talked to, especially the ones who lost their homes, want to be back at school because this is their safe spot,” said Principal Jessica Taliaferro.
A shed housing the high school's softball equipment was burnt down in the Clayton Fire, but no other major damage was reported. Taliaferro on Tuesday credited firefighters for that feat.
“We've gotten to know a lot of the firefighters, CHP, personally,” she said. “So to have them here with us means so much.”
Elizabeth Naber agreed.
“Everyone is talking about it,” the Lower Lake resident said. “We see the firefighters every day. There's a lot of them. They're working very hard and people thank them and stuff.”