Students Wait For Fire News

Californians Fear For Their Families

Harvard students from southern California have stayed close to their radios and TV sets over the past few days, wondering whether their homes and families have fallen victim to more than a dozen brush fires which have burned nearly 100,000 acres in California since Wednesday night.

Jennifer S. Frautschi '95, of Altadena, said she was concerned when a friend told her about the fires. "My house was evacuated and the mountainside behind us was destroyed," she said.

"I was worried for my family," said Nick-Anthony C. Buford '97, of Orange, who was first notified of the fires by his girlfriend.

Buford said a fire command post had been set up at an elementary school one block from his house, but that fire had not reached his house.

Damaging 580 homes and injuring 27 firefighters and 5 residents, the fires prompted President Clinton to declare the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside and San Diego disaster areas.


Gusting desert winds were responsible for the spread of the fires Wednesday. But yesterday, calmer winds and cooler temperatures helped the nearly 7,000 firefighters beat down the blazes. But forecasters predict conditions will worsen when gusty winds return tomorrow.

Stephen W. Huang '95 of Irvine said the fire spread within three miles of his house. He said he waited two hours to talk to his family because the phone lines were down. "I was more than a little worried," he said.

"The first thing my dad told me was that our house hadn't burned down, so Ifigured it must be serious," said Alex M. Lin '96of Seal Beach. "My dad said it was a disaster."

Philip M. Grant '94, of Altadena, said, "myparents had their car ready to evacuate with alltheir valuables." He said they did not end upevacuating.

The Associated Press contributed to thereporting of this article.