Skirball Fire causes continued danger, campus closure through weekend


Mira Berenbaum and Jared Hasen-Klein
Editor-in-Chief and Webmaster

UPDATE #7 12/9/17 9:00 PM: Milken is still on track to reopen Monday. For more information on how school will be impacted and other steps moving forward, see Fire danger passes, school to resume Monday from Jared Hasen-Klein. To read stories from the community, see Nearby Fire Danger Ignites a Strong Sense of Community from Emily Vanek. This will be the last update of this article. Thank you for following this important course of events with The Roar.

UPDATE #6 12/8/17 @ 4:15 PM: Milken will reopen on Monday barring any major developments. A new article will be posted shortly

UPDATE #5 12/8/17 @ 10:20 AM: Milken administers the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE), the standardized test required for entry to most private high schools. The test was initially scheduled for Sunday 12/10/17 but has now been rescheduled to Sunday 1/7/18. Details on the testing update can be found here. Also, please note that additional updates regarding school will be sent in today’s Milken Messenger.

UPDATE #4 12/6/17 @ 6:05 PM: School will be closed through the weekend. This means that all classes and school activities on Thursday and Friday will be cancelled. The earliest that school will be open is Monday 12/11/17. Depending on when school is back in session, the academic calendar may be impacted. Full details can be found here.

UPDATE #3 12/6/17 @ 3:30 PM: More information is now available on Milken’s decision to stay closed through tomorrow. The decision was made in conjunction with other area schools, taking into consideration recommendations from the LAFD and LAPD. The campus is still not in immediate danger but the operations team is monitoring the situation closely as winds shift over the next hours. Full details here and updates posted here.

UPDATE #2 12/6/17 @ 3:15 PM: Milken will remain closed on Thursday, 12/6/17. Updates will be posted here when available. Stay safe!

UPDATE #1 12/6/17 @ 9:45 AM: Milken remains closed due to the Skirball Fire. All school activities have been cancelled and the Torahs have been relocated. Grade Level Programming this Friday and Saturday has been cancelled and will be postponed. If there are any more updates, we will put them here. More info on the Emergency Updates page.

Just before 5:00 AM this morning, the “Skirball Fire” broke out near the Sepulveda Pass, just three miles south of Milken. At 7:30 AM, a mandatory evacuation order from the LA Fire Department went into effect for all locations south of Mulholland, east of the 405, north of Sunset and west of Roscomare. Initially, administration cancelled school yesterday and today due to the Sylmar fires. However, it is now unknown how this new fire will affect the rest of the school week.

While the Skirball Fire is not close to the magnitude of the Creek Fire in Sylmar, this one hits closer to home. The school is in much more direct danger and many students and faculty live within the evacuation zone. Between all of the local fires in the Sylmar, Santa Clarita, Ventura, and Bel Air areas, nearly the entire Milken population is affected in some way. Many students and faculty members have been forced to evacuate. Further, people would likely not even be able to access school today. According to ABC7, the Los Angeles Fire Department, in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol, shut down the 405 freeway in both directions between the 101 and the 10. The 405 has now been reopened southbound, but remains closed northbound.

The view of the fire from the Guerin balcony at 8:27 AM, courtesy of Mr. Nathan Humphreys.

Head of School Mr. Gary Weisserman says that, even though the, “campus is secure,” the administration is, “remaining vigilant.” Weisserman also remarked that the Los Angeles Police Department has requested to use the Milken campus as a staging area.

Director of Operations and Campus Safety Mr. Nathan Humphreys explained that as of 9:16 AM, the fire had grown to 125 acres. At least two major buildings in the area have been damaged, as well as several homes. However, he noted that “Milken’s campus safety team is on campus, closely monitoring the situation. The campus is not in danger at this time.”

The Roar did not immediately receive a response as to the status of the Thursday’s senior mystery night and Friday’s grade level programming, including the 10th and 11th grade shabbatons. This article will be updated as soon as new information becomes available.

As always, please check the Milken Community Schools Emergency Updates page for the latest information about how these situations impact school.