MU student from California hopes home is okay during wildfire

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COLUMBIA - Ryan Howard, a University of Missouri senior, is getting ready to head home for Thanksgiving break. But, his home, in Thousand Oaks, California, is currently within a mile of the Woolsey fire. 

On Thursday, Howard's family was evacuated from his home as the fire got closer.

“My mom was concerned about our pets, photos, anything you can’t really get back," he said.

His parents and sister have been in a hotel since Thursday and are hoping to back to their home in a few days.

Tuesday morning the Woolsey fire got a little too close for comfort.

“This morning was terrifying, I woke up and they said there was a flare up in Lake Sherwood area, which is pretty much right next to my house," Howard said.

Howard said it all depends on the wind and which way it blows the fire. Luckily for the Howards, the winds blew the fire away from their house.

“I could see my house on the news from the helicopter, but luckily the winds started moving or else it could have been catastrophic,” he said.

For now, his family's home still stands. Some of his friends, on the other hand, are not as lucky.

“Few of my friends have actually been homeless because they're houses burned down,” Howard said

He said, so far, everyone he knows has gotten away from the fire safely.

“But at the end of the day they have their valuables, but they don't have a home anymore," Howard said.

Howard goes home for Thanksgiving break this Thursday.

“If my first night has to be in a hotel that's okay, but as long as we stay safe as a family and hopefully our home does too,” he said.

Howard said the first thing he wants to do when he gets home is hug his family, the second is help his friends any way he can.

"We’ve gone under a lot of hardships in the last week, so I’m sure we can rebuild as a community.”

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