Fire Near San Luis Obispo High School, Others Raise Concerns

By Justin Milton

November 8, 2023

On Monday, October 30th around 2:45 pm, a fire broke out on the hill just above San Luis Obispo High School (SLOHS). This was when students were going to their 5th period class. People were caught by surprise and within a half hour they were told to flee campus.

At 2:49pm, the fire was called in to authorities. Over the next several minutes, news of it spread from the FFA barn down to the lower classrooms as the fire rapidly grew. People stepped outside to witness the spectacle and waited for instructions.

Shortly before 3:00pm, students were ordered to go down to the field. The evacuation was disorganized, with teachers going between classrooms to get everyone out and many had limited knowledge of what was going on.

     Ten minutes later, teachers tried taking attendance, but after a couple minutes students were ordered to leave campus. The bus hadn’t arrived yet, so the students who could drive left and the others walked into town. Some walked home and others waited off campus to be picked up. 

     Gavin Curren, a senior, posted on instagram a friend chilling and watching the fire from the parking lot to the song “Fire on the Horizon.” Leila, a sophomore, went to multiple classes to notify people of the fire and offered to help evacuate animals from FFA. 

 Student on the field watching the fire, Oct 30th (Photo credit: KEYT news)

Gavin Curren with a friend in the SLOHS parking lot watching the fire, Oct 30th.

Shortly after 4:00pm, two more fires were reported just outside of Cal Poly. They were both contained that day and stayed below an acre each. That afternoon an evacuation order was made for residents south of Lizzie street, east of Fixlini street and north of Bishop street. It was reduced to a warning at 8:30pm. No structures were ever damaged in any of the three fires.

The next day, on Halloween, school resumed as crews worked to contain the fire. All warnings were lifted Tuesday afternoon. Later in the day a 15-year old was arrested after footage from the school showed two teens leaving the area where the Lizzie fire started. That evening the fire was at 100 acres with 80% containment.

By Wednesday, the Lizzie fire was fully contained at 124 acres. Around noon, another fire was reported near the Morro Bay Water Reclamation Facility. Crews got right on it, and by the end of the day it had been fully contained at 47 acres.  

On Friday, Cal Poly announced that they believed the two fires were arson, like the one at SLOHS. Concern had been going around that all these fires were planned and coordinated, however so far they haven’t been linked. There are no updates yet on the cause of the fire in Morro Bay. Friday evening a brush fire broke out on the Broad street and South 101 on ramp. It was quickly contained, though some homes were briefly evacuated.

The San Luis Obispo area has had legitimate concern over these fires appearing all of a sudden. Luckily, the fire department has shown that they are more than capable of stopping them.

Fire outside the Water Reclamation Facility, Nov 1st. (Photo credit: KSBY)