Finals at UCSB are canceled in wake of the Thomas Fire spreading into Santa Barbara County, Chancellor Henry Yang announced Sunday afternoon.
Fall quarter has been extended to the week of Jan. 8, when students can take fall finals. Winter quarter will start Jan. 16.
“We are encouraging all students who wish to leave campus to do so,” Yang wrote in an email. “…Some faculty have already made alternative arrangements instead of the previously scheduled exam, and these arrangements remain in effect.”
Campus will remain open, and other departments will follow with information about financial aid and academics.
Goleta and Isla Vista residents are not under any evacuation order as of 5 p.m. today, but county sheriff and fire officials advise the community to be on alert tonight in case fire conditions change.
— The Bottom Line UCSB (@tblucsb) December 11, 2017
Throughout the week, students petitioned for the university to cancel classes and finals as air quality in the county worsened. Yang responded to concerns by canceling classes on Thursday and Friday.
The Thomas Fire, which sparked near Santa Paula in Ventura County on Monday night, is currently threatening structures near the city of Carpinteria, roughly 20 miles south of the university. As of Sunday morning, the fire has burned approximately 170,000 acres.
Students woke up around 2:20 a.m. Sunday to a county alert for mandatory evacuation, which was soon corrected and clarified to reflect that residents in the area north of Carpinteria were being asked to evacuate. Another alert went out at 6:21 a.m. asking residents living in East Montecito to leave. Most recently, an evacuation alert hit phones around 1 p.m. extending the Montecito evacuation boundaries between Hot Springs and the county line.
Earlier this week, Yang said finals would continue as scheduled, calling on professors to be “flexible” in accommodating students with health concerns. Yang has come under fire from students for what they perceive as a delayed response.