At 3:45 p.m. today, 5C students received reports of a brush fire at the Bernard Field Station. Pitzer’s VP for Student Affairs, Brian Carlisle, sent the following email to Pitzer students at 4:33 p.m.:
“Fire and rescue is on the scene of a fire just north of the Pitzer Campus. Though no immediate danger to the campus has been identified, heavy smoke will likely permeate the area. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to remain indoors if possible until the fire has been extinguished and smoke has cleared. Foothill Blvd is temporarily closed north of the campus. Please continue to monitor your cell phones and email for updates as needed.”
Carlisle sent another email at 4:51 p.m. informing students that the fire had been extinguished:
“The fire north of the campus is contained, and the fire department has confirmed that there are no injuries or structural damages. To be clear, the fire did not cross Foothill Blvd, and no Claremont Colleges structures have been affected. Heavy smoke continues to move eastbound. Please remain indoors if at all possible.”
The Robert J. Bernard Biological Field Station is an academic resource provided to the Claremont Colleges from the Claremont University Consortium. The area occupies 86 acres, composed of coastal sage scrub, Riversidian alluvial fan scrub, live oak forest and grassland. Many classes at the 5Cs, primarily biological and environmental sciences, conduct research at the BFS.
Pomona Professor of Environmental Analysis Char Miller confirmed that 17 acres were burned during the September 11th brush fire at the BFS. A crew from Golden State Water Company was using a chop saw and torch to fix an above ground water pipe which ignited the fire. The men continued to cut said pipes after the ignition, which shot more sparks into the air.