Prescribed burns near campus today

California State Parks has been and will continue conducting prescribed burns in Wilder Ranch State Park, continuing sporadically through Dec. 13. Wilder Ranch is a 7,000-acre state park west of UC Santa Cruz that goes from the coastline into the mountains.

On Sunday, smoke from the burns remained near ground level through the night due to weather conditions. At times during the night, the outdoor air quality index (AQI) rose above 150, a level at which some members of the general public may experience health effects when outside. You may still smell smoke inside buildings, but outdoor AQI levels throughout campus are now below 50. Buildings with HVAC systems are actively clearing indoor air and the amount of outdoor air entering buildings will be reduced where possible when burns begin again today.

The ignitions are scheduled to occur between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. All burning will depend on weather and air-quality conditions that are favorable for smoke dispersal. If the conditions are not conducive for burning, the burns will be rescheduled.

Some trails will be closed temporarily to ensure public safety, including portions of the Englesmann Loop, Eucalyptus Loop, Old Cabin and Long Meadow Trail.  Everyone is advised to keep clear of the designated zone during the scheduled burn. Smoke may be noticed in the area for one to two days after the burn.

This burn is part of the prescribed fire program for vegetation management, hazardous fuel-load reduction, wildlife-habitat improvement, and other ecological benefits.The treatment will enhance the health of the forest by removing duff, leaf litter and fuel buildup and restore essential nutrients to the soil and reduce the chance of wildfires.

WHAT TO DO: If you are affected by air-quality issues, stay indoors or leave the immediate area. Close windows until the burn has concluded. You can find information on the Air Quality Index (AQI) and local air-monitoring resources through EH&S and many weather apps. In addition, Environmental Health & Safety provides information on wildfire smoke and ways to protect yourself.

REDUCE EXPOSURE: If the AQI is in the unhealthy, very unhealthy, or hazardous ranges, limit your outdoor activities and stay inside with the windows and doors closed, or if possible, leave the area. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your airway moist and easier to clear. If you are feeling ill due to poor air quality, seek advice from your medical provider.

For more information, please visit our wildland fire resource pages at:

Emergency Procedure - Building Fire and Wildland Fire

Wildfire Awareness

UCSC EH&S - Air Quality

UCSC EH&S - Wildfire Smoke