GIA closes headquarters due to wildfires

As a precaution, the Gemological Institute of America closed its Carlsbad, Calif., world headquarters office Monday and Tuesday because of wildfires that have spread through Southern California.

A statement on the GIA Web site said the campus is not in danger from the wildfires that have affected areas in this region. However, GIA officials were reacting to “concerns from local government, law enforcement, and safety authorities.” The closings include administrative offices, all classes, the GIA Gem Laboratory, and GIA Gem Instruments.

Carlsbad is in San Diego County where fires are burning south, east, and north of the GIA campus.

Five separate blazes are scattered around Southern California. As of Tuesday morning, media reports indicate that at least 1,134 homes have been destroyed and 15 people killed throughout the state, with 13 deaths reported in San Diego County. The flames dotted an area that extended on a straight line more than 100 miles, from the Mexican border north to the suburbs of Los Angeles.

The fires have resulted in the closing or limited use of several highways in San Diego County as well as power outages in tens of thousands of homes, according to media reports. In addition, air quality levels are at nearly double what is considered dangerous. Residents are encouraged to stay in doors and use whatever air filtering they can.

GIA urges staff members who live in areas affected by the fires to follow instructions from local law enforcement and safety officials and contact their supervisor as soon as possible. GIA instructs students who live in the area should contact Student Services at (760) 603-4084.

GIA did open for all classes and business operations on Wednesday. However, it recommends that staff and students continue to monitor the GIA Web site for further updates.