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UCSF’s Northern California Wildfire Response

UCSF is working in a variety of ways to assist those who are affected by the 2017 wildfires that have brought devastation to several counties in Northern California. This page offers information and resources for members of our community directly affected by the fires as well as information about how faculty, staff, students and trainees can assist those in need.

Latest Updates

October 19, 2017
State Health Officer Urges Caution During Wildfire Cleanup

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today advised residents of recently burned areas to use caution in cleaning up ash from recent wildfires. Ash from trees burned in wildfires is relatively nontoxic and similar to ash that might be found in your fireplace. However, ash from burned homes and other items will likely contain metals, chemicals, and potentially asbestos, items that may be considered toxic if breathed in or touched with wet skin. Read the full CDPH press release »


October 16, 2017 at 7:03 p.m.
UCSF Response to Northern California Fires Final Update #9

UCSF and UCSF Health emergency management teams will continue to monitor the Northern California fires until extinguished, but as containment percentages increase and evacuees return to their neighborhoods en masse, this will be the last UCSF Police Safety Bulletin on this topic unless conditions worsen.

Members of the UCSF community who have lost homes as a result of the devastating fires that began Oct. 8 and which continue to burn, can now register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), if they are able to do so. Federal assistance is available to eligible individuals and business owners in a total of six northern California counties: Butte, Lake, Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma and Yuba.

Survivors who primarily reside in one of the six designated counties can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

For UCSF staff directly affected by the wildfires, UCSF Human Resources has prepared guidelines and resources, including information about emergency loan programs through our credit unions, short-term and long-term housing rentals, and other resources. Faculty members who have been impacted should consult their department chairs.


October 15, 2017
N-95 Respirators for Employees and Students

Please continue to look to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website for current air quality conditions, which can change throughout the day.

For campus employees and students who work or spend time outdoors, N-95 respirators and instructions on how to use them are available at the security desks at Genentech Hall, Mission Bay Housing East and at Mission Center Building. Beginning at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 16, respirators for these groups will be available from Occupational Health.

  • Mt. Zion (2330 Post Street, Suite #460)
    Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.; 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Parnassus (505 Parnassus, M-195)
    Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.; 1 to 2:30 p.m.
  • Mission Bay (1855 4th Street, Suite C1739)
    Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.; 1 to 2:45 p.m.
    Tuesday – 12 to 4 p.m.

UCSF Health employees who may need masks should check with their supervisors.


October 12, 2017
UCSF Shows Courage and Community in Response to Wildfires

On Sunday evening, as many were settling in for the night, UCSF Health special events Director Kim Murphy was springing into action to save people from an approaching wildfire in Santa Rosa.

The UCSF Health team was staffing the annual UCSF Medical Center Celebrity Golf Classic, a fundraiser to benefit UCSF Health, All Stars Helping Kids and the Michael J. Fox Foundation that was scheduled for Monday at the Mayacama Golf Club in Santa Rosa. Read more »

Human Resources Assistance

The wildfires have directly impacted several hundred UCSF employees and students who live in the affected counties.

Faculty & Staff

For staff who are affected, and their managers, UCSF Human Resources has gathered information about our program that allows staff to request donations of accrued vacation, emergency loan programs through our credit unions, short-term and long-term housing rentals, and other resources.

Faculty members who have been impacted should consult their department chairs.


In cases of financial emergencies, students can contact the Student Financial Aid office for interest-free, short-term loans that can be available within a few days. For longer term relief, advisors are available to students to discuss their detailed, financial impact from the fires and provide longer term funding solutions. The Student Financial Aid Office is ready to help.

Other Resources

Professional counseling and confidential services are available to members of our UCSF community. These services are:

How You Can Help

UCSF is responding to requests from the California Office of Emergency Services for patient transfers and supplies. The Global Disaster Assistance Committee (GDAC) is closely monitoring all requests for assistance related to the wildfire situation.

If you would like to help as an individual, there are several ways to do so:

1)  Donate funds to relief organizations. There are several listed on the California Volunteers website. In addition, you can consider the following organizations:

2)  Donate accrued vacation to staff directly affected by the fires. Human Resources guidelines include information for faculty and staff who want to donate accrued vacation to a specific staff member directly affected by the fires.

3)  Donate goods. This should be done in San Francisco so that goods can be sorted and delivered efficiently. A number of sites accepting clothing and goods are listed at on NBC Bay Area's website. Saint Vincent de Paul is accepting donations of unprepared foods at 610 Wilson Street, Santa Rosa, according to the city's website. Please keep in mind that donation needs are fluid and financial contributions are a priority.

4)  Volunteer. Experts in disaster relief have specifically advised us to ask our community not to self-deploy, but to work through existing relief organizations. This allows you to maximize your effectiveness as a volunteer and also ensures that you have the appropriate liability coverage. To volunteer as an individual, please follow the guidelines below.

For Clinical Volunteers

The California Department of Public Health is requiring all clinical volunteers to be credentialed as an official healthcare responder through the California Emergency Medical Services Authority web site.

Key Steps for Clinical Volunteers:

  • Register with the California Emergency Medical Services Authority to be credentialed as an official emergency responder.
  • Obtain approval from your supervisor or department chair to use accrued leave for volunteering and to ensure that there is adequate coverage for your role at UCSF.
  • Email [email protected] so UCSF can keep track of volunteers. Please include your UCSF affiliation, where you plan to volunteer, and the name of the organization you are volunteering with.
  • UC will provide professional liability coverage for any clinician who volunteers in this effort. It is important that clinicians follow the three steps above, to enable tracking of activities.
  • Licensed healthcare providers can sign up for shifts at Sonoma County shelters.

For Non-Clinical Volunteers

The best source for information is California Volunteers, which currently lists the Center for Volunteering and Nonprofit Leadership as a group seeking volunteers. You can also volunteer through the American Red Cross.

Key Steps for Non-Clinical Volunteers:

  • Visit California Volunteers for important information and volunteer opportunities in Napa and Marin counties.
  • Sonoma County Volunteer Center: [email protected] or call 707-573-3399.
  • Red Cross needs volunteers to assist with check-in and supply distribution and other activities as needed. Red Cross has exhausted its volunteer pool and many additional hands are now need during this emergency. To volunteer sign up at http://tinyurl.com/RedCrossVolOctober2017.
  • Email [email protected] so that UCSF can keep track of volunteers.  Please include your UCSF affiliation, where you plan to volunteer, and the name of the organization you are volunteering with.
  • Coordinate with your direct supervisor for approval. Pending approval, you may use your accrued leave, or take unpaid leave to volunteer.

For Students, Residents and Fellows

Students and trainees without a clinical license will not be permitted to serve as medical personnel unless overseen by a faculty member. Given the dynamic circumstances, we are unable to match students to faculty at this time, but will look for opportunities to do so as the situation evolves. Students are encouraged to follow the “non-clinical volunteers” guidelines above, email [email protected], and alert their appropriate school contact: Pamela Armstrong (Dentistry); Catherine Lucey (Medicine); Sharon Youmans (Pharmacy); Kim Baltzell (Nursing); and Elizabeth Silva (Graduate Division).

Residents and fellows with a California Medical license may provide general clinical care independently. Please coordinate with your program director or department chair to ensure clinical coverage and professional liability insurance. Note, you may not provide care that requires you to have completed training in your residency/fellowship field without supervision by a UCSF faculty member.

Nursing students with a valid California RN license may also provide nursing services as a volunteer. Please coordinate with Kim Baltzell.

UCSF Sponsored Emergency Response Team

UCSF leadership will be responding to resource requests from the Medical and Health Operational Area Coordinator (MHOAC), which is overseeing medical assistance related to the fire. UCSF Leadership will relay these requests to UCSF faculty and staff with specific skillsets and training to volunteer for deployment as part of a UCSF Sponsored Emergency Response Team. Staff who are contacted directly and choose to volunteer to be deployed as part of this team may be eligible to use paid administrative leave, under policies approved by the Chancellor. Details on eligibility for paid administrative leave will be included in the requests.

5)  Other opportunities: If you participate in Airbnb, the Open Homes program allows hosts to open up their homes for free to people needing shelter.

We will add additional information as it becomes known.