Update on fires impacting our region

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Sarah Latham, Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services

UC Santa Cruz continues to closely track the fires in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and neighboring counties. This event has resulted in multiple evacuations and air quality concerns.

This continues to be a rapidly changing situation, and we encourage everyone to stay informed and keep themselves safe. Cal Fire is providing updates through its Twitter account, and Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties have a real-time evacuation map.

The residential campus, Coastal Science Campus, Scotts Valley offices, and Westside Research park do not have an imminent fire threat, though the evacuation area continues to expand and part of our main campus could be in the next evacuation zone. You are advised to be prepared in the event that your area is directed to evacuate. 

The campus has activated our Emergency Operations Center to navigate our response. Below are some critical updates. We are providing updates at ucsc.edu/fire. We will send a CruzAlert, if immediate action is required. Please take a moment to ensure your CruzAlert contact information is updated. We ask each of you to monitor conditions that impact you locally as each of your situations will differ.

Thank you to all of our employees who are working to support the campus as we navigate these issues. Your dedication to our Slug community is incredible. 

Air quality

Our Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) unit is monitoring the Air Quality Index (AQI) and issued an advisory earlier today. Many of our buildings currently have increased outside air flow due to COVID concerns. If you are concerned about smoke odors, contact your supervisor or manager for remote work or leave guidelines. Unless you have been evacuated, limit time spent outdoors as much as possible. Additional support will be provided to those who work in areas with elevated smoke levels and evacuees. 

Evacuation preparation

The evacuation zones continue to expand. The residential campus, Coastal Science Campus, West Side Research Park and Scotts Valley Center have not received evacuation orders. However, individuals living on campus and those working on-site should continue to remain vigilant and prepared—should orders come—by following the Red Cross evacuation preparation guidelines.

  • Be ready in a moment’s notice

  • Be sure to pack belongings such as clothing, non perishable foods for your family and pets, medications and copies of important documents

  • Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information

  • Confine pets in one room so that you can can find them if you need to evacuate quickly

  • Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area

More information can be found on the Red Cross Wildfire Safety website.

Students who are impacted and need assistance related to emergency housing, food or other support should contact the on-call Slug Support Case Manager at 831-459-7003.

In addition, though we have minimal in-person operations due to COVID-19, unit managers should be making preparations in the event they must close any on-site functions. We will post notices of changes to operations online.

Continued possibility of rolling blackouts

We also remain at risk for potential power blackouts due to the loads on our electric grid throughout the state. The campus physical plant has made several adjustments to lessen the load on the local grid. We ask every member of the campus community to also take actions to minimize electric usage.

As we undertake all of these efforts, please keep in mind the vital actions needed to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Continue to wear a face covering and physically distance to the greatest extent possible.

Thank you to everyone in the Slug community for all that you are doing to support our campus and each other.