If you have been following the news as we have, you are aware of the Ferguson Fire and its effects on Yosemite National Park and the communities west of it.
As the fire grows, so does its impact on all of us. Yosemite holds a special place in our hearts. It’s home to some of our most meaningful research as well as transformative learning and working opportunities. As the only research university with such close ties to the park, our thoughts are with everyone in the surrounding area. Many of us know students, faculty and staff who live in the foothills or do UC-related work there.
At this time, almost everyone living or working in the park has been evacuated. Wawona Field Station steward Marlon Spinneberg remains onsite and is in contact with the campus.
We have confirmed that all summer interns displaced by the fire are safely staying in Merced – either in temporary on-campus housing or in the off-campus homes they occupy during the academic year. One employee was evacuated as well, and we have found a temporary accommodation. The campus has also welcomed several park employees who are staying in the residence halls, and assigned temporary work space on campus until the evacuation order is lifted.
To our knowledge, there have been no fire-related injuries among our UC Merced family. If you know of affected students, faculty or staff members who are in need of housing or basic needs support, please contact Human Resources.
In the meantime, it’s important to remember that stressful events such as these can affect each of us differently. There are professional resources available to everyone in the campus community. INSIGHT, our employee assistance program, is available to faculty and staff by calling 800-422-5322. If you know students in need of support, have them call Counseling and Psychological Services at 209-228-4266. Counselors are available over the phone around the clock.
Gregg Camfield, Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Veronica Mendez, Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
Charles Nies, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs