UC System Extends Deadline for Applicants Affected by Wildfires

Photo by Bob Dass

The University of California announced on Wednesday morning that it will extend the Fall 2019 application to December 15 for students affected by the current California wildfires.

In order to receive the extension, applicants must email ucinfo@applyucsupport.net using the same address associated with their UC application and write “Extension Request — Weather/Fire Event” as the subject line. In the body of the email, they must include the reason for the request. Applicants affected by the fires will also receive a fee waiver covering the application costs for up to four UC campuses.

“We know this is a tremendously difficult time for prospective students and their families who have been impacted by the devastating wildfires,” said UC President Janet Napolitano in a press release about the deadline extension. “This is one small way the university can offer support.”

This is the second year in a row that the UC has offered to extend the application deadline because of California wildfires. The first extension was in response to the 2017 Northern California fires that resulted in approximately 245,000 acres burned, 200 injuries, and 44 civilian deaths.

This year’s extension is in response to fires blazing through both Northern and Southern California.

According to CBS News, the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura County burned 98,362 acres, destroyed 435 structures, and resulted in 3 fatalities thus far. The Camp Fire, currently burning through Butte County in Northern California, burned 138,000 acres, destroyed 10,321 structures—including homesand resulted in 63 fatalities thus far, with hundreds still reported missing.

In response to the fires, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ cancelled classes for late Thursday afternoon and all of Friday after the Air Quality Index (AQI), the number used to determine how polluted the air is in a certain area, surpassed 200. Air quality is considered normal when the AQI is at 100 or below. It becomes dangerous for those sensitive to air pollution when the AQI rises above 100 and becomes dangerous for all when the AQI exceeds 150. The AQI around UC Berkeley reached 246 before classes were cancelled. UC Berkeley student Shayna Kothari stated that Berkeley’s student government and other campus organizations were passing out masks to students to protect from the worsening air quality. However, the distribution centers were on campus, which is roughly a 20 minute walk for many students and the centers were in very short supply of masks.

UCLA’s La Kretz Center Field Station, a UCLA facility used for conservation research, was burned by the Woolsey Fire. Chancellor Gene Block also issued an air quality warning to UCLA students. Some professors cancelled classes; however, many are still in session.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Chancellor Gary S. May and other campus leaders at UC Davis closed campus on Wednesday and Thursday, following public outcry and a petition that was created in response to the original decision to keep campus open. UC Davis was the first UC campus to cancel classes because of poor air quality.

At UC San Diego, approximately 600 students were affected by the wildfires, according to the deans of student affairs from all six colleges. It has been reported that each dean will reach out to the students affected within their respective colleges.

For more information about the application extension, click here.

Matthew Rom-Toribio is an Assistant News Editor at The Triton. You can follow him @MT2o.