Merced College cancels classes for the week due to lingering Camp Fire smoke

Merced College Superintendent Chris Vitelli closed Merced College’s facilities and operations, including classes for the week of Thanksgiving out of concern of wildfire smoke lingering in the San Joaquin Valley, according to school officials.

The closure includes all Merced and Los Banos campus facilities, along with the Business Resource Center and all off-campus classes, according to a news release posted Sunday night.

Initially, only Monday’s classes were canceled, but officials later extended the shut down for the rest of the week.

“Please know this decision is solely based on health and safety concerns,” Vitelli said in a post on the college’s Facebook page.

UC Merced also canceled classes for the rest of the week, according to a statement.

Schools of all levels in Merced County have modified schedules due to the smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County, according to a news release. Playoff football games also have been postponed.

Merced County air quality was “unhealthy” Monday, according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

The Camp Fire has been identified as one of the worst wildfires in the state’s history. As of Monday morning, it has burned 151,000 acres in 11 days and is 66 percent contained, according to Butte County Calfire. A total of 77 people have been killed and three firefighters have been injured.