Campus Fights Northern California Fires, Provides Aid

A Veterinary Medicine team prepares to leave
The UC Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team prepares to head out to Solano County this morning. (Rob Warren/UC Davis photo)


New story posted Thursday (Oct. 12): UC Davis aid efforts continue in the fire emergency, while the university and individual employees from the coast to the main campus are also being impacted by this crisis.

UC Davis is responding to the spate of Northern California wildfires by sending emergency personnel to the fire lines and taking in patients — people and animals — and even a firefighter’s family.


“I’ve heard from many in our UC Davis community who have been impacted by the wildfires here in Northern California. Many of you have friends and family who have been devastated by the fires. I want to express my deep concern for all of those in our community who are suffering and need help.

“UC Davis faculty, staff and students are providing all kinds of on-the-ground support to various communities. Our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of the people and animals throughout the region is steadfast in these difficult days. We are here to support you.”

— Gary S. May

The university also is dealing with smoke from neighboring counties. The Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District warns of “unhealthy” air today (Oct. 11), advising people to reduce their exposure and limit their outdoor (heavy) exertion. More information is available here.

Meanwhile, a transfer student from Santa Rosa Junior College is organizing a ride-share program for students who may need transportation back home to Sonoma County. “My family and many of my friends have been evacuated and/or lost their homes during this time,” said Quinlan Kezer, who has started a Facebook page called “UC Davis- Santa Rosa Fire Ride Share.”

“This group is intended to organize people affected by the fires so that when the green light is given for our families to return, students will have access to rides back to their families be with their families who have been impacted,” Kezer said.

See below for Support and Resources for faculty, staff and students.

At the med center

The UC Davis Medical Center is treating nine patients who were transferred from medical facilities in the fire-affected counties. Of those nine, seven are being treated for wildfire-related burns, officials said this morning.

“UC Davis Health — with our Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center — will be ready to help even more victims, should the wildfires continue to grow in size and severity,” the officials said in an email to everyone at UC Davis Health.

“As we watch the news about wildfires sweeping across Northern California, our thoughts are with the many people whose lives are affected. The UC Davis Health community counts among its members many with deep ties to the affected areas: Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and more.”

Veterinary experts providing assistance

With flare-ups overnight, the School of Veterinary Medicine today dispatched an equine field service team for the second day in a row to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, and deployed the Veterinary Emergency Response Team, or VERT, to Sonoma County, and a livestock field service team to Solano County.

The equine field service team that went out today comprises a resident veterinarian and two students. VERT headed out with a faculty vet, a staff emergency responder and five students, while the livestock field service team comprises one faculty vet and two resident vets, and two students.

UC Davis Veterinary Medicine team
The Veterinary Emergency Response Team, or VERT, prepares to depart this morning. Students are flanked here by Jim Green, left, an expert in disaster preparedness, working with the Center for Equine Health; and John Madigan, VERT director. (Rob Warren/UC Davis photo)

Other patients have been brought here: two horses and two llamas last night. Unfortunately, one of the llamas was euthanized, with the owner’s permission, due to compromised health, according to Linda Ybarra, director of communications for the school.

“As a community, I know we all grieve the loss and devastation associated with the multitude of fires in Northern California that our regional neighbors are experiencing,” Dean Michael Lairmore said in a news story posted yesterday (Oct. 10). “As in times of natural disaster, we stand ready to assist with the animal victims and their owners caught in the path of these fires. We have a number of activities already underway and resources available to respond to official county and state requests.”

Stay up-to-date with the School of Veterinary Medicine’s response to the wildfires.

Campus crew fights blazes, provides shelter

UC Davis brush truck
The UC Davis Fire Department's brushfire engine.

Campus Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht said one of his firefighters had moved his family into one of the group dorms at the campus firehouse, because their home in Sonoma County is threatened.

Trauernicht gave this update on his personnel who have been called up by the state Office of Emergency Services:

  • Battalion Chief Nate Hartinger is working in Butte County as a strike team leader trainee with a group of OES engines. 
  • A four-person crew is out with UC Davis’ wildland fire truck, initially assigned to the Point Fire near the Stanislaus National Forest but redirected this morning to Napa County. The crew comprises Dave Stiles, captain; Kyle Dubs, engineer; and Jon Poganski and Gerrit Dykzeul, firefighters.

Support and Resources

Faculty and staff: See this Human Resources post for information on taking leave during the crisis, and to learn of the support available to you through the Academic and Staff Assistance Program.


Vice Chancellor Adela de la Torre sent a message to students: “In addition to expressing my sincere hope that you and your loved ones are safe, I want to remind you about the many support services our campus offers.”

“Whether you need someone to talk to or referrals to additional support services, please don’t hesitate to reach out,” de la Torre wrote.

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