WCSJ2017 Update on Regional Fires in Northern California

Friday, October 13, 2017

WCSJ2017 organizers are keeping a close eye on the wildfires and air quality in Northern California as the conference date approaches. In the San Francisco Bay Area, some citizens and businesses are currently taking precautions to deal with outdoor air quality issues from smoke and fine particulates from the fires inland. Although it is unlikely that current conditions in the Bay Area will persist through the conference period, we are making contingency plans  and will provide updates if special measures or advisories are needed.

WCSJ2017 program sessions will take place in locations not expected to be affected by outdoor air quality conditions, including conference facilities at the Marriott Marquis, UC San Francisco Mission Bay Campus, and UC Berkeley. Air-conditioned motor coach transport will be provided between venues. If unpleasant air quality conditions persist, we will be prepared to provide access to advice and resources for any attendees with concerns.

FIELD TRIPS: As of this date the UC Davis Oakville Field Station, which is preparing to host the Science of Wine field trip, has not been damaged by the fires in Napa County. The Redwoods field trip to Sonoma County is also still planned. WCSJ2017 organizers will e-mail everyone registered for a given trip if there are updates or changes. We will do our best to provide seats in other excellent field trips if a trip must be canceled.

GETTING TO THE MEETING: There have been modest disruptions to flights in and out of San Francisco International Airport and other airports nearby. We will be prepared to make schedule adjustments if air travel issues worsen, but they should ease unless extreme conditions persist. BART transit service from the airport has not been affected.

SPECIAL PLENARY: We hope to have a chance to talk about the wildfires and how science journalists cover fires, along with other natural disasters, in a special plenary that has been added to the conference schedule. Keep an eye on that developing session here: http://wcsj2017.org/session/hazard-zone-science-journalists-tackle-natural-disasters/

Our thoughts go out to those in our host region affected by these devastating wildfires, with several local conference staff and volunteers contributing time and resources to the evacuation and recovery efforts even in the midst of final meeting preparations.  We count ourselves fortunate indeed and look forward to welcoming you to San Francisco very soon.

  • For those interested in learning more about air quality, UC Berkeley Health Services, maintains the following helpful site, with advisories for visitors to their campus: https://uhs.berkeley.edu/