The Impact of Fires on our Community

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

Dear UCSC Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Friends,

Today my heart is with all the members of our community for the challenges we face together. At this moment I am especially concerned for those impacted by the wildfires burning in Santa Cruz County and elsewhere in Northern California. Residents of the mountain communities surrounding UC Santa Cruz have been forced to evacuate their homes in the face of the fast-moving Lightning Complex Fire ignited a few days ago by a dry lightning storm. We know that many UC Santa Cruz faculty, staff, students, and alumni are among those displaced by the fires. We are working to support our UCSC faculty, staff and students who are on and off campus. As this tragic event continues to unfold we are reminded that our community’s safety is the most important aspect of any crisis. Evacuations are important because they free up first responders to focus on battling the fire rather than on rescuing people who may find themselves trapped by the fires. This morning’s news reports indicate that approximately 40,000 acres have burned so far and the fire is 0% contained. The fire has burned several structures so far and we know that those who have evacuated are worried that they will face the loss of their homes.  

There have been no fires or damage at the residential campus, Coastal Science Campus, West Side Research Park, our Scotts Valley Center and our Silicon Valley campus. Our Lick Observatory community has been evacuated and firefighters are on Mount Hamilton working to contain the blaze. Conditions can change quickly, and we have plans in place and are prepared to evacuate the campus should an order come. All campus information is available at Please also be sure to double-check that your CruzAlert contact information is correct.

In a crisis like the one we currently face, the best course for all of us is to respond with generosity of spirit. It is too soon to know if the fires will delay activities related to the start of the fall quarter. Any changes from previously announced plans will come as we have greater clarity about the impacts of the fire. In the meantime, we ask that all Banana Slugs near and far keep us in your thoughts and in the coming days think about how we can support those members of our community.

These words have never been more true or important: Stay safe, stay well, and stay connected.