Oxy and Southern California Wildfires


4 p.m. While the Woolsey fire in the Malibu-Santa Monica Mountains area is approximately 30 miles to the west, we want to reassure everyone that the Oxy campus is not threatened by these wildfires.

With the Woolsey fire now 94% contained and local neighborhoods and streets reopening in Malibu, air quality on the Oxy campus and in the Eagle Rock area remains at moderate/good, depending on the time of day. Southern California has largely avoided the kinds of air quality issues that have plagued Northern California as a result of the Camp fire, roughly 400 miles to the north.

Nov. 15, 5 p.m. Campus air quality was rated "good" throughout the day today. Firefighters now have the Woolsey fire 62% contained, and there is even a chance of rain in the forecast after Thanksgiving.

Nov. 14, 5 p.m. As firefighters continue to make progress in fighting the Woolsey fire (officials reported it 47% contained as of this morning), air quality has improved across the Los Angeles basin. On the Oxy campus and the Eagle Rock area, the air quality index (AQI) continued to move between good and moderate throughout the day today. At present the AQI stands at 37, well into the good range.

Nov. 13, 5 p.m. Another day of good air quality on the Oxy campus, with air quality index (AQI) moving between moderate and good throughout the day. Progress continues to be made in fighting the Woolsey fire, which earlier today was reported to be 35% contained.

Nov. 12, 5 p.m. Due to a shift in the winds, the current air quality index (AQI) for Eagle Rock and the surrounding areas is 44 or "Good," a dramatic improvement over yesterday afternoon's AQI of 153. The campus routine continued uninterrupted today; the Woolsey fire appears to be slowing down.

Nov. 11, 1:30 p.m: Student Athlete Update

Joe Gonzalez, assistant athletics director for sports medicine, sent this message to all Oxy coaches today.

Good morning everyone,

The current air quality index (AQI) for Eagle Rock is 153, which is categorized as "Unhealthy." According to the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport, the guidance for a member institution in an area with an Unhealthy AQI is as follows: "Outdoor activities should be shortened, and exertion should be minimized by decreasing the intensity of activity. Sensitive athletes should be moved indoors." Sensitive athletes include any student athletes with pre-existing pulmonary or cardiac conditions (e.g. asthma).

All Oxy Athletics scheduled events for today are indoors, and we are OK to continue with those events as planned.

Tomorrow, the AQI will be monitored by the athletic training staff, and we will notify the Athletics department of any changes that need to be made to practices and training schedules. If the AQI remains above 150, coaches will need shorten outdoor training sessions and significantly limit the exertion of student athletes by reducing the intensity of exercise. If these modifications cannot be achieved, then the practice/training session should be cancelled.

Winds are expected to shift today, which will push the smoke towards the ocean. This may improve our air quality here in Eagle Rock. If the AQI drops below 150 tomorrow, coaches may proceed with typical outdoor practice schedules, although we should still keep a close watch on those sensitive groups of students. As a reminder to coaches, your team's Status Reports in Google Drive has a "Medical Alerts" tab where you can see which of your student athlete have pre-existing conditions such as asthma. This will help you identify which of your athletes to keep an especially close watch on.

Nov. 9, 9 p.m. Thankfully, the winds driving the fire have dropped today, which gives firefighters a better chance to fight the blaze; however, this has allowed the smoke to spread over much of the city, with a noticeable change in campus air quality this afternoon.

Currently, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) rates the air quality in our part of the city as "unhealthy for sensitive groups." Because conditions can vary hour by hour, AQMD’s general advice is that if you can smell smoke, try to stay indoors, close your windows, and avoid vigorous physical exercise. We ask all members of the Oxy community to keep this in mind in the days ahead. Sunday’s AQMD forecast calls for air quality to improve to moderate levels.

We’ve had reports of some members of the Oxy community whose homes are in evacuation areas. Please reach out to Dean Wendy Sternberg or the Human Resources office if we can be of assistance to you in this time of need.

We are monitoring the situation closely and will post updates regarding any significant new developments.