NEWS BRIEFS: Crew on Fire Line in Ventura County

Fire trucks drive toward the Thomas Fire.
The view from the dashboard of a UC Davis fire truck as it arrived in Southern California last week. (UC Davis Fire Department)

Quick Summary

  • ‘Transitioning to Retirement’ for staff and faculty
  • HOLIDAY HELPING: Santa Paws, Toys for Tots, Stuff a Bus

Updated Dec. 11: Campus firefighters have been assigned to mop-up and structure-protection duties as part of the response to the Thomas Fire in Southern California.

"The crew is working hard and doing well," Chief Nate Trauernicht said.

Updated Dec. 8: Chief Nate Trauernicht says, “BR34 is assigned to Branch 1, Div R again today on a 24hr shift. They will be assisting with stopping active fire around the town of Ojai. The Santa Ana winds are diminishing, yet local weather is erratic compared to normal. The red flag warning is scheduled to continue through Sunday at the Thomas Incident. The crew is well rested from their shift off.”

Updated Dec. 7: Campus Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht reports that UC Davis’ four-person crew in Southern California is “safe and doing well” after a day on the fire line in Ventura County. “The expected winds yesterday (Dec. 6) did not develop and fire behavior was nominal,” he said. The crew worked a 24 hours Wednesday-Thursday, before getting 24 hours off.

Updated Dec. 6: Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht reports the campus crew has been assigned to the fire line and told to expect to be out for longer than the assigned 24-hour shift. “The crew is eager to get to work and help the people of Ventura,” the chief said. 

Dec. 5: Campus firefighters were headed out this morning (Dec. 5) as part of the response to a wind-whipped wildfire that erupted Monday in Ventura County and grew to 45,000 acres overnight.

“We just got our orders to go down to Ventura with a Type III strike team,” Chief Nate Trauernicht said by email. “We leave campus at 1000 this am to meet up with the rest of the team and head south.”

The crew: Joe Newman, captain; Kyle Dubs, engineer; and Lindsey Dubs and Ryan Tooley, firefighters. They are in Brush Truck 34 (BR34).

‘Transitioning to Retirement’ for staff and faculty

Enrollment is underway for “Transitioning to Retirement,”presented by the Retiree Center and the Office of Academic Affairs with support from Staff Development and Professional Services. Topics include pension options, retiree health benefits, Social Security and financial planning for retirement.

Each campus — Davis and Sacramento — will have its own program, and each program will have separate tracks for staff and faculty. Meetings will be held once a week for four consecutive weeks:

  • Davis — Wednesdays, Jan. 10, 17, 24 and 31, in the Conference Center. Staff 9 a.m.-noon, faculty 1-4 p.m.
  • Sacramento — Wednesdays, Feb. 14, 21 and 28, and March 7, Comprehensive Cancer Center Auditorium. Staff 9 a.m.-noon, faculty 1-4 p.m. 

The organizers recommend that participants register for the entire four-week series; however, each session is available for individual registration.

Space is limited, so, if you wish to sign up, the organizers ask that you be within three years of retirement. If your retirement is further out, remember “Transitioning to Retirement” is held annually.

HOLIDAY HELPING: Santa Paws, Toys for Tots, Stuff a Bus

• Santa Paws — UC Davis veterinary students hold this fundraiser annually for the Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless, an all-volunteer project of veterinary students, preveterinary undergraduates and veterinarians. Bring your pets to Arden Animal Hospital, 1823 Fulton Ave., Sacramento, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Sunday (Dec. 10), for photos with Santa. Suggested donations: $25 for digital photos and $5 for additional print copies. All donations go toward supporting clinic operations.

• Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets — Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital staff members founded this program 22 years ago, and most of the original team is still at it (including retirees) — on an entirely volunteer basis. They raise money to pay for toys and treats, food and brushes, and coats and sweaters for pets belonging to homeless people. The distribution takes place at the nonprofit Mercer Clinic on the grounds of Sacramento’s Loaves & Fishes.

Contributions to Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets, including coats and sweaters, can be made online or by check. All donations are tax-deductible.

  • Online —
  • Check — Payable to “UC Regents-Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets.” Mail to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Office of the Dean, P.O. Box 1167, Davis 95617-1167, Attention: Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets.

For more information, contact coordinator Eileen Samitz by email,, or phone, 530-756-5165.

• Toys for Tots — Mail Services is once again helping out the Marine Corps Reserve on this annual drive, so you know it’s easy: Just bring new, unwrapped toys for ages up to 16, and leave the toys with your outgoing mail or in the blue bins around campus (see a list of locations). Donations can be made until this Friday (Dec. 8). The Marine Corps Reserve will distribute the toys in Woodland during the weekend of Dec. 16. For more information, send an email to

• Stuff a Bus — Unitrans, the campus-city bus system, and Nugget Markets will hold a holiday food drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, in the parking lot of the Nugget store at 1414 E. Covell Blvd. (at Pole Line Road), loading the food into a vintage double-decker bus.

“Children and adults alike are invited to enjoy the view from the top deck as they drop off their food donations,” the organizers said. Donors also will have the opportunity to spin a prize wheel, and the first 50 donors will receive free Nugget canvas bags and 10-ride Unitrans passes.

The collected goods will be delivered to the ASUCD Pantry and the Yolo Food Bank. The food drive organizers are asking people to especially consider the donation of canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned meat, low-sugar cereal, peanut butter, whole grain pasta, rice, canned or dry beans, 100 percent fruit juice and shelf-stable milk. 

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