Wildfire updates: Re-opening employee housing, rest of campus remains closed
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The Dolan Fire was ignited less than one mile from the UC Santa Cruz Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve on August 18, 2020 and has since burned 95% of the 8,000 acre reserve. Big Creek is a key resource for educating the next generation of conservation scientists and for conducting research such as the effects of climate change on old growth redwoods and coastal stream habitats.

A fallen burnt tree at the trail to Redwood Camp, where field course students overnight.
A fallen burnt tree at the trail to Redwood Camp, where field course students overnight.

Every year, Big Creek personnel diligently prepare defensible space for a potential fire event. This year their hard work paid off as resident staff and fire crews saved the visitor center, research cabins and staff residences. Unfortunately, the fire claimed campgrounds, water systems, phone lines, and wireless network equipment. The team is already working to replace lost infrastructure, but the path to reopening will be long and arduous amongst hazardous tree and rock falls and the winter rains eroding roads and trails.

Support the rebuilding of Big Creek Reserve to open once again for students and researchers as a living laboratory and outdoor classroom—with a new opportunity to study the effects of fire.
 

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Scorched hillside at Big Creek Reserve after the Dolan Fire.

When reopened, Big Creek Reserve can once again host the next generation of conservation scientists learning to protect our coasts.