Wildfires affect students
By: Michaela Dennis
Tarleton State University students are dealing with panic and shock after wildfires broke out in the area on March 20.
Erath County officials reported more than 10,000 acres in the county have burned due to the wildfires. Evacuations were issued immediately in the areas that were heavily affected, and livestock owners were told to release their animals to ensure their safety.
It took a strenuous amount of time to contain the fires which caused many families and students in tough situations.
The closest town experiencing the wildfires is Gordan, which is 20 miles away from Stephenville.
Firefighters worked for 16 hours straight to contain the fires until the fire changed directions.
Junior Jaycee Halliday was worried about her family’s property because she believed her home could have gone up in flames.
“I had to take a leave of absence from school to support my family,” said Halliday.
The fires threatened junior Blaine Gluck’s family as well. She recalled checking her phone multiple times for an update from her family. Gluck was anxious about her family, friends, and her cattle’s safety.
“The experience was stressful because I had so much on my mind from my family to our cattle,” said Gluck.
Freshman Bailey Colan was not initially affected by the fires but experienced anxiety about her safety.
“I just was really scared,” said Colan. “I didn’t know what to do so I just packed everything up just in case and notified my parents.”
Colan describes being in shock because she was scared that the fires would increase and move toward the campus. To prepare, she created a duffel bag of her belongings to quickly evacuate if needed.
The Student Government Association gathered donations to help those who suffered losses from the wildfire March 21-25.