NACAC, WACAC, and PNACAC Urge Support for Students Affected by Wildfires in the Western US

Shanda Ivory

NACAC, WACAC, and PNACAC Urge Support for Students Affected by Wildfires in the Western US 


Arlington, VA (September 10, 2020) – NACAC urges colleges and universities to be flexible when considering application deadlines, requests for high school transcripts, teacher recommendations, and other information from students who may be affected by the wildfires in the western US. The governors of California, Oregon, and Washington have issued emergency proclamations in their states related to the fires. 

Western ACAC President Phil Moreno shared the affiliate’s message to NACAC members today: “WACAC leadership continues to monitor the wildfires that are impacting our members and the students we serve. We have been in touch with the WACAC Executive Board, the Common Application, and now NACAC to discuss how we might support our members as the situation evolves. If and when WACAC determines any opportunities to support our membership, we will use email and social media to reach out as outlined by the WACAC Rapid Response Plan. Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by these devastating fires and wish for your health and safety - please be in touch with how we can support you by emailing

Pacific Northwest ACAC President Patrick Wilson said: “Many of our schools were to begin virtual learning this week and those plans have been put on hold due to evacuations, power outages, and the subsequent lack of internet connectivity. While the initial evacuations were from rural areas, which we know already suffer from a lack of connection to the college search process, we’re now seeing exurbs of the Portland metro area impacted, as well. At last count, I believe there are 40 active fires and more than 500 square miles of Oregon burned.

Wilson added: “Last month, I encouraged our members to continue to show compassion and flexibility for students, their families, and our colleagues on all sides of the desk given not only the pandemic, but the recent natural disasters, which predated these current fires, as well. We appreciate our colleagues’ compassion and flexibility, recognizing that not only has the college search process potentially been put on hold, but the entire start of the school year, too.”

The situation on the ground in the affected states is changing rapidly but earlier this month, a California television station reported:

“The 625 or so fires burning across the state have shattered records for their devastation and left community institutions, such as public schools, to deal with the residual effects. Even as the vast majority of California schools remain physically shuttered, fires burning across multiple counties have forced schools to cancel instruction through distance learning, halted plans to distribute necessary technology and supplies and pushed back the first day of instruction for some schools.”

Officials in Oregon said the fires continue to endanger cities and towns across the region.

NACAC asks that colleges and universities throughout the country exercise flexibility and discretion as students and families manage the impact of the fires on their schools and communities 


The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded in 1937, is an organization of nearly 14,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education. 


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