As wildfires have spread through Southern California, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes and destroying millions of dollars worth of property, Pepperdine’s emergency response has been admirable. Fires in Malibu have engulfed a number of celebrity mansions and threatened Pepperdine’s campus–the third picture in the slideshow on this webpage shows the fires in relation to the Waves’ baseball stadium–but Pepperdine coach Steve Rodriguez said last night that all of his players are safe, thanks in large part to the university’s quick response.
"It was really close to our campus early (Sunday), but as of right now it’s in the canyons," Rodriguez said. "The university did an amazing job going door to door getting all the students into the cafeteria and the gymnasium. The ones who are off campus are having to stay off campus.
"I really do believe Pepperdine did amazing job with the emergency action plan, sending out e-mails, text messages, phone messages to every staff member–it was quite impressive."
The Pacific Coast Highway has been closed for a 10-mile stretch around Malibu so that emergency vehicles can get where they need to be, so the students who have evacuated on-campus housing are having to stay put.
"The upperclassmen have come up huge, and invited freshmen to stay with them," Rodriguez said. "We Had about 15 kids over at my house (Monday) morning, making breakfast, and we’re going to watch the football game (Monday night). We’re not used to something like this, and when you see kids stepping up like this it makes you feel good."
Rodriguez said much of the damage in Malibu occurred in the giant mansions where many celebrities live. He said there were some brushfires on Pepperdine’s campus that were quickly put out, but the fires did not reach the baseball field.
"The problem is the winds are worse than I’ve ever seen before," he said. "Nothing can be contained, it’s hard for firefighters to gauge what’s happening, it’s jumping over freeways. It’s kind of isolated deep into the canyons right now, so it’s not really affecting a lot of people, which is good, at least in our area."
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