Erskine Fire victims return to school eager for routine

Posted at 7:05 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 22:07:29-04

The first day of school is often made of mixed emotions for students; some happy to be back, others unhappy that summer has ended.

For many students and staff from Kern Valley High School in Lake Isabella, getting back to school was a welcome return to normalcy after a summer that brought devastation to the area.

"The entire summer, instead of being able to hang out with people and relax, I was at the house and we were sifting through stuff," said Lexi, a sophomore at Kern Valley who lost her home in Squirrel Valley during the Erskine Fire.

"Being back in school actually is a lot better than staying at home all day," said Justin, a freshmen who lost his home when the blaze tore through South Lake.

"It just feels a little more normal than usual," he said when asked about being back in class.

The faculty at Kern Valley, many of whom also had personal dealings with the wildfire, have been doing what they can to make things as normal as possible for the affected students.

"Trying to keep them in a place of normalcy," said Brian Bennett, who drove many students to and from summer school after the fire.

"Get them into class and get their minds thinking on other things, schoolwork, stuff like that. I think that's what we're trying to accomplish here," he said.

Students who lost their homes were also given money to buy school supplies.

On Thursday, the Kern River Valley Safe Council and the Kern County Fire Department will meet to discuss the Erskine Fire, defensible space, and Kern Valley Long Term Recovery Group.

They'll be meeting from 10 a.m. to noon in the Supervisor's Conference Room at 7050 Lake Isabella Boulevard, according to a Facebook post.