Prescribed burns planned next week

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Lisa Ehret, Interim Director, Office of Emergency Services

As previously announced, CAL FIRE is planning to conduct a number of prescribed burns cooperatively with UC Santa Cruz through the first half of 2018. Notification and updates will be provided to the UC Santa Cruz community when burning is scheduled to occur.

A prescribed burn is scheduled for the week of Feb. 12–17, pending weather conditions, in upper campus, along Chinquapin Road, northwest of the water tanks, and between West and Red Hill roads (NMC–1 and NMC–3). Please avoid this area next week. A map of the areas scheduled to be burned is attached.

Additionally, CAL FIRE crews plan to burn previously cut tree and shrub branches on Chinquapin fire road within the meadow east of Twin Gates in the near future, which will temporarily restrict access for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Smoke may be seen and smelled on campus and the surrounding areas on the days of burning.


Burning will not be conducted if there is adverse weather, a fire weather watch, a Red Flag Warning for the area, or if it is a no-burn day.

Additionally, burning will be done in accordance with a Smoke Management Plan approved by the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District. The plan includes provisions for reducing the amount and duration of potential smoke impacts. However, should you experience respiratory symptoms you are encouraged to seek care and follow your personal doctor’s directions. Additionally, N95 masks are available from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at 831-459-2553 and

The devastating and tragic fires across the state have underscored the importance of thinning out the brush, plants, and other vegetation that can fuel wildfires.

Benefits to ecosystem

Northern maritime chaparral habitats within Upper Campus require periodic disturbance to regenerate and persist as open shrubland. Years of fire suppression and a lack of other disturbances have resulted in the encroachment of the forest into this habitat.

In addition to allowing a potentially dangerous build-up of combustible fuels, leaving these areas unmanaged will result in the eventual disappearance of the chaparral habitats in upper campus and the suite of fire-adapted species found within them, some of which are rare. Due to the already high-levels of fuel in chaparral habitats, vegetation was pre-treated prior to fire through crushing vegetation to reduce the risk of fire escaping the treatment areas.

Although these areas look heavily impacted at first, they should recover quickly through a combination of resprouting stumps and roots and germinating seeds.

Email the Office of Emergency Services at if you have any questions.