Office of the President

September 9, 2020 – North Complex Fire

To: Campus Community
From: President Gayle Hutchinson

As many of us woke this morning to dark orange skies and ash raining down, I know I was not the only one to feel a deep sense of sorrow and anxiety over a fire burning so close to our community once again. The  North Complex Fire(opens in new window) (formerly the Bear Fire), which is threatening Oroville, Concow, and many other foothill communities, is deeply troubling, and those worries are further compounded by other wildfires burning across California and Oregon. Our hearts go out to all who are affected.

Campus is safe, and there are no evacuation orders in the City of Chico. Individuals who are evacuating in our neighboring communities should contact their professors and supervisors at your earliest convenience, but your safety and well-being is your first priority. Employees may also contact human resources at for leave options. 

We know the impacts and trauma of these fires is far-reaching. If you are having difficulty focusing on school or work, please contact your faculty or supervisor directly for accommodation. I trust you will be treated with flexibility and compassion. 

Students can access support services from  WellCat Counseling 24/7 by calling 530-898-6345. Faculty and staff can contact LifeMatters at 1-800-367-7474 or in new window) for counseling and other services. Password: csuchico.

The University's Emergency Operations Center has expanded its scope to address the fire and stands ready to assist our community as needed. University Police is already providing mutual assistance for local agencies with evacuations. For those who want to support wildfire relief efforts, North Valley Community Foundation is accepting donations(opens in new window)

We will continue to closely monitor the North Complex Fire and update the campus community. I encourage you to follow Butte County on Twitter(opens in new window) and Butte County Sheriff on Facebook(opens in new window) or Twitter(opens in new window) for the latest information on the fire, evacuations, and resources. Please also sign up for the county's Code RED Emergency Alert System(opens in new window) and monitor your local air quality(opens in new window).

As we struggle with stress and uncertainty because of COVID-19, so many of us have already reached our capacity to process and persevere. Once again, I ask everyone to stay connected and be gentle with yourself and others. Check in with your peers and colleagues, share your strength, and ask for help if you need it. Our compassion is what makes us a Wildcat family, and we will continue to stick together even in the toughest of circumstances.