Arson at North Campus Open Space on UCSB campus Wednesday afternoon
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Arson at North Campus Open Space on UCSB campus Wednesday afternoon

The person of interest was observed leaving the area on a bicycle; it is unknown if the incident is related to previous arsons in the Isla Vista area

Arson at North Campus Open Space on UCSB campus Wednesday afternoon

A vegetation fire reported at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, in the North Campus Open Space on UCSB campus is being investigated by UCSB Police and is believed to be arson.

As Santa Barbara County firefighters are busy extinguishing the largest wildfire currently raging in the state — the nearly 29,000-acre Lake Fire north of Los Olivos — the UC Santa Barbara Police Department responded Wednesday afternoon to a report of an arson at the North Campus Open Space west of Isla Vista.

At approximately 3:40 p.m., firefighters responded to a call about a fire that had burned about 50 square yards of vegetation west of West Campus Family Housing, according to an alert sent to the UCSB community. Witnesses reported seeing a person of interest — described as a man wearing a black hoodie and a black scarf covering his face — leaving the scene of the fire on a black bicycle traveling west toward Ellwood. Witnesses said a skateboard was attached to the front handlebars of the bicycle.

Wednesday’s fire comes on the heels of numerous reports of arson in and around Isla Vista on July 3, including a couch fire, two dumpster fires and a brush fire in Goleta’s Girsh Park, as well as a picnic table fire near Storke Family Housing on March 12 and a burned trampoline at the Family Housing Playground on June 9, according to a previous UCSB alert. It’s unclear at this time whether any of those incidents are related or related to Wednesday’s fire.

If you have information that could assist in the investigation of this or other fires, you can contact the UCSB Police Department at (805) 893-3446 or report information anonymously at

UCPD reminds the campus community of the following:

Safety tips

  • Call 9-1-1 report an active fire. If you are inside a building, exit quickly to evacuate. Do not use elevators. Once outside, move at least 50 feet away from the affected building.
  • Report extinguished fires, regardless of size, to the UCSB Police Department by calling (805) 893-3446.
  • You should immediately report any suspicious activity to the UCSB Police Department, including the use of an open flame or any talk of or planning to set a fire, by calling 911: (805) 893-3446.
  • Additional fire procedures can be found here:


  • Fire prevention resources can be found on the Emergency Health and Safety website:
  • Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) provides students with individual and group counseling and wellness opportunities. Call (805) 893-4411 or submit a CAPS application form. 24-hour telephone advice is available at (805) 893-4411. CAPS website:
  • The Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) offers short-term advising, consulting, wellness workshops, and risk management assistance for faculty and staff. Call (805) 893-3318 to schedule an appointment. ASAP website:
  • The UCSB Police Department CSO Safety Escort Program is a free service provided to members of the UCSB community as a safe alternative to walking alone at night. Call (805) 893-2000 to request a CSO escort. For more information:

This is a developing story. Check back for additional details as they become available.