A Message from Chancellor Yang on the Thomas Fire

December 7, 2017

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

As the Thomas Fire continues to burn in Ventura County, we are deeply concerned for all those impacted by this devastating event. While the fire poses no threat to UC Santa Barbara’s physical campus, we understand it causes significant distress and disruption, particularly for those who have been evacuated from their homes or are in evacuation warning areas. I want you to know our campus is here to assist you.

Our campus remains open, with classes and most other activities proceeding as scheduled, though intermittent power and communications outages have affected some services and operations. The fire is burning outside Santa Barbara County but we continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds so we can respond with appropriate caution and mindfulness. 

Regarding air quality across the area, we urge you to pay attention to updates and warnings issued by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Air Pollution Control District. Information about current air quality conditions can be found at www.OurAir.org/todays-air-quality.

We encourage students who are having breathing issues or have medical conditions that affect breathing to visit Student Health Services for appropriate medical advice and care. 

Intermittent power and communication outages continue to be possible as a result of the fire and these will be highlighted on The Current (http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2017/018562/thomas-fire), where we are providing regularly updated information about fire-related impacts to campus departments and units. 

UC Santa Barbara staff, students, and faculty members impacted by the fire should consult their department managers about their circumstances and needs. Information about leave time, compensation, and related questions is also available by contacting Cynthia Señeriz, director of human resources, at 893-8137, or Farfalla Borah, employee and labor relations manager, at 893-4482.

For those of our affected colleagues and students who may need schedule flexibility due to this emergency, I urge managers and faculty members to extend understanding and cooperation in accommodating individual circumstances.

We are fortunate to be able to serve our community as a Red Cross shelter location, with our MAC (multi-activity center) as a major accommodation site. I would like to thank our RecCen users for their understanding of our need to temporarily suspend regular activities there. The Red Cross shelter can be reached directly at 893-6080.

The news page on The Current also contains links to other sources of information on the Thomas Fire, including www.readyventuracounty.org, which contains an updated incident summary and details about evacuations, closures, and shelter facilities.

On behalf of our campus, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to the firefighters as well as to all our government officials and other local leaders who are working around the clock to keep our community safe.

Please do not hesitate to e-mail me at henry.yang@chancellor.ucsb.edu if you have questions or if I can be of further assistance.


Henry T. Yang