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SMMUSD Schools Closed Again Today Due to Smoke from Bel-Air Fires

Dear parents and guardians,

All SMMUSD schools will be closed today, Dec. 7, 2017, in an abundance of caution and with the health and safety of our students and staff in mind. We are concerned about staff and families as this smoke, air quality and fire threat may turn very quickly throughout the day.

This decision was not made randomly. Our Emergency Operations Team gathered this afternoon to discuss next steps. Various factors were considered in our decision including:

  • Continued unhealthy air quality expected tomorrow
  • High winds predicted up to 80 mph gusts in our area
  • Extremely high wildfire threat (“Purple” danger level – never used before)
  • Neighboring LAUSD schools will also be closed along with some private schools in the area
  • Containment of the nearby Skirball Fire is at 5%, with expectation that this could grow overnight.

Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says this is the worst Santa Ana wind conditions the state has ever seen. “The purple danger color means there is extreme danger and that fires that erupt will burn uncontrollably,” Pimlott said.

Our preschools and before and after school care programs will also be closed tomorrow. Student athletes should check in with their coach to find out about practices or games.

While we understand that LAUSD has announced a closure on Friday, too, we are still evaluating. We will be making that decision tomorrow and will notify all parents and staff.

We urge all of you to be safe and take care of one another during this challenging time in our communities.

Thank you.

Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent, SMMUSD

Smoke from the Skirball fire visible from the closed 405 freeway.
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