UCSC Fire Update

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

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

I am writing to provide an update about UCSC and the Lightning Complex Fire. Thursday afternoon we received an evacuation warning for the campus and began relocating students and employees living on campus to the Cocoanut Grove at the Boardwalk. We also began preparing for the possibility that the fire reaches the campus. Conditions later prompted a mandatory evacuation for our residential campus Thursday evening. As of this morning, the fire is about a mile north of upper campus. There is no fire activity on campus or in the City of Santa Cruz, and we hope that all our activities have been taken in an abundance of caution. This morning’s news reports indicate that approximately 50,000 acres have burned so far and the fire is 0% contained. The fire continues to advance, and much of what will happen next depends on weather conditions such as wind direction and speed. We will continue to provide updates and information about the campus at ucsc.edu/fire. We are so grateful for CalFire and the crews who are doing all they can to help contain the fire and protect the campus.

Evacuating the campus required the support and collaboration of many people and organizations. I want to thank those of you who evacuated early. Your quick action helps ensure our first responders are able to manage the fire and stay safe. I also want to thank the amazing staff members in Colleges, Housing and Educational Services (CHES) for their coordination of the evacuation effort and support of our campus residents’ needs. Our UCSC Police Department safely evacuated our campus, going door-to-door to ensure each person in our community was safe. I would also like to thank the Seaside Company for throwing open its doors to our campus residents including providing space for campus dining to continue feeding our students and our community. Finally, so many people have volunteered to support our evacuation efforts outside of the scope of their normal jobs. I could not be more grateful for this community and the way everyone has come together to respond to this crisis. 

As we face this crisis together, our thoughts are with all members of our Banana Slug community — students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends directly affected by the fire. Please know that we are continuing to work on ways to support our campus community during this difficult time. And for all facing the COVID-19 crisis, we hope that you are keeping well and adhering to our Slug Strong actions to keep you and members of your community safe.  

We will make it through this challenge and emerge a stronger and more resilient UC Santa Cruz. Please keep our university community in your thoughts — and stay safe, stay well, and stay connected.