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August 1, 2016


Soberanes Fire Updates: August 14

Retreats and guest visits are cancelled until August 22.

Meeting on the bridge: Fire crew members Hiro Ikushima, Benson Canfield, Bradley Higbie, Joe Rawitzer, Kogen Dito-Keith, Aaron Erb, and Jordan Montgomery. Photo: Greg Fain

Rendezvous on the bridge: Hiro Ikushima, Benson Canfield, Bradley Higbie, Joe Rawitzer, Kogen Dito-Keith, Aaron Erb, and Jordan Montgomery. Photo: Greg Fain

Soberanes Fire Update, August 14:

Acres burned: 72,566
60% contained.
Total firefighting personnel: 4263
Distance from Tassajara at closest point: 9.90 miles
Distance from Jamesburg at closest point: 4.10 miles
Air quality remains good.
The fire has not moved any closer to Tassajara since yesterday.

Training on Cabarga Creek pump with Bradley Higbie, Kevin Peng, Hiro Ikushima, and Nick Shah. Photo: Greg Fain

Training on Cabarga Creek pump with Bradley Higbie, Kevin Peng, Hiro Ikushima, and Nick Shah. Photo: Greg Fain

Soberanes Fire Update, August 13:
The fire continues to move slowly (about 1/10 of a mile yesterday), although the overall acreage has increased on the southern side.
The Unified Fire Command Chief visited Tassajara yesterday, and reviewed our fire preparedness protocols. It’s likely we will get at least 2-3 days notice when the fire is getting closer. However, Unified Command Team are more confident now that they can contain the fire before it gets to Tassajara, which is more good news.
The air quality at Tassajara remains good.

Acres burned: 71,860
60% contained
Total firefighting personnel: 4,479
Distance from Tassajara at closest point: 9.90 miles
Distance from Jamesburg at closest point: 4.10 miles

Soberanes Fire Update, August 12:

Local station KION’s coverage of Tassajara’s decision to stay and protect Zen Mountain Center monastery from the Soberanes Fire includes a phone interview with Director Linda Galijan:


Update from Cachagua Fire. They have also been backburning to create a perimeter around Tassajara to help prevent the fire from approaching. That’s great news! The fire grew another 1,000 acres, but is still around 10 miles from Tassajara. Our gratitude to the firefighters for their hard work. We very much appreciate your kind comments and good wishes. They warm our hearts:



The fire crew: Diego Miglioli, Aaron Erb, Kogen Dito-Keith, and Joe Rawitzer.

From Layla Bockhorst at Tassajara:

August 8

Two fire agency Public Information Offices visited, just to look around. They were given a tour, a warm work circle welcome, and when they departed they left a cash donation to Tassajara!

Yesterday’s fire “line crew” wasn’t able to return as they have been diverted to the Big Sur Coast where the fire is spreading. The fire is 45% contained, but on the northern and eastern and western flanks, not the southern.

Kogen Dito-Keith especially wants to express his appreciation for the training he received in irrigation systems and in using the chain saw during his time at Green Gulch—training he received from Quayyum and Sarah—and which has been of great use in the present situation!

“Samsara cinema” movie night in the Retreat Hall, with popcorn. Wes Anderson’s Moonlight Kingdom. A lovely break.

August 9

For the past three days the fire has not progressed toward Tassajara, due to the cool weather and increased humidity that comes with the inflowing marine layer at night. Joe Rawitzer says that when the weather does heat up, the fire will start moving again.

We had large “Tassajara Fire” signs printed at the FedEx office for the sides of some Tassajara vehicles for ease in moving through the roadblocks. We printed up laminated “Tassajara Fire” ID cards for the Tassajara Fire Brigade (all the trained fire people who will be staying until the fire comes), for ease in getting in and out.

Fire prep goes on. Dharma Rain and the creek pumps are being tested and adjusted every day. Today a test of Dharma Rain was conducted using only the swimming pool pump. That one pump was able to run 60% of the system. An early morning crew began at 6:00 am working to clear a fuel-free space around the helipad up on the overlook trail.

Over the next few days students who live in the upper and lower barn and the “suburbs” cabins will be moving to the central area.

We held another community meeting tonight. It was a chance for people to express their feelings about the continuing departures of students, and the eventual evacuation of everyone but the core of about 25 people who have had extensive fire training.


Steph Revering and Nick Shah were checking our Dharma Rain sprinkler system on the woodshed — and are laughing because they got wet in the process. Photo: Greg Fain

Soberanes Fire Update, August 11:
The fire did not increase overnight, which is good news, and it is still the same distance from Tassajara. The air quality there is good. May it continue.

Acres burned: 68,698
Total firefighting personnel: 4,822
Distance from Tassajara at closest point: 10.35 miles
Distance from Jamesburg at closest point: 4.10 miles
Percent of perimeter contained: 50%

Tassajara resident Jacqueline Goveas is ready.

Soberanes Fire Update, August 10:
The fire has increased in size by around 1700 acres overnight, but is still about the same distance from Tassajara as yesterday. Jamesburg is now officially out of fire danger. Our focus now is making sure the crews are in place to help us when the fire does reach Tassajara. We are in regular touch with the various fire agencies to ensure we will have the additional support and equipment we need.
Thank you for all your kind words of support. We very much appreciate it. Deep bows.

Acres burned: 68,698
Total firefighting personnel: 4,855
Distance from Tassajara at closest point: 10.35 miles
Distance from Jamesburg at closest point: 4.10 miles
Percent of perimeter contained: 50%
Air Quality Index (AQI): 8/9 PM Moderate; 8/10 AM UFSG; Prediction: 8/10 PM Moderate


Soberanes Fire Update, August 9, from Tassajara Director Linda Galijan:
The fire is still no closer to Tassajara at its closest point, which is about 10 miles away. It has remained pretty stationary here for the past few days. However, the southern portion of the fire is moving toward us, I think perhaps half a mile in the last day or two. This southern part of the fire may reach us first. There is nothing but wilderness between the fire and Tassajara. The fire is growing again. It’s now at 67,000+ acres, and 50% contained. However, the southeast sides of the fire are not contained at all.

Please know that we who are here and living with this day by day are confident and prepared. We have deep faith in our practice, our training, our preparations and equipment, and each other. We’re ready.

Love and bows from this beloved valley,

Soberanes Fire Update, August 8:

The fire is now at 60,400 acres and 45% contained. There are 5,028 firefighters trying to contain the fire. The fire is moving slowly, and is still 10.35 miles from Tassajara, and about 4 miles from Jamesburg. However, we know that the fire is likely to come close to Tassajara, and as a precaution, we are cancelling guest visits and retreats until August 22.

The Tassajara crews are working on building a fire line around the perimeter of Tassajara. Fire crews were there yesterday reviewing our preparedness, and said we have done a good job in preparing for the fire, plus we have an excellent crew at Tassajara who are trained in fire protection. The good news is that we have invested in much better fire protection systems to protect our buildings than the 2008 fire. May everyone be safe. With deep bows of gratitude to our firefighters. Thank you all so much for your kind wishes .

Soberanes Fire Update, August 7:

The Cachagua Fire Department continues their back burning to build a fire line. The cooler humid weather is helping their efforts. The good news is that fire has not moved closer to Tassajara — it’s holding at 10.35 miles, and the fire is now 45% contained. Thank you for all your kind wishes, and deep gratitude for our firefighters. May everyone stay safe.

Here’s today’s update:

Acres burned: 57,500
Total firefighting personnel: 5,154
Distance from Tassajara at closest point: 10.35 miles
Distance from Jamesburg at closest point: 4.51 miles
Percent of perimeter contained: 45%
Air Quality Index (AQI): Good

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. nancy bennetts
    Aug 1 2016

    _/\_ My heart is with you! Allison too!

  2. Aug 2 2016

    I’m lifting the place and people in my heart.

  3. Cyndy Crogan
    Aug 2 2016

    Thank you for posting updates. I do not have a Facebook account so this is helpful. You are in my heart. If you need volunteers for any fire activity put me on your list, I am a long time builder with experience in most phases of construction based on restoration of historical structures.

  4. Margie Fain
    Aug 7 2016

    Thoughts are with you all, especially Greg and Linda, and hopes that the firefighters (and winds) will help put this out before it gets closer to Tassajara.

  5. Molly Webb
    Aug 8 2016

    We offer anyone at Tassajara a refuge in Mountain View if you need a place. We are a small spot but have the some space for deciding what to do next. Our connection is close to our friends at Mountain View Buddhist Temple, our friends. Most of all we wish for the best outcome.

  6. Eleanor Souza
    Aug 8 2016

    Our hearts and thoughts are with you. We love Tassajara and are praying for you. Chuck Davis and me.

  7. Koshin Monica Rose
    Aug 9 2016

    I’m sorry I won’t get to visit and see everybody there next week. But I’m happy that you’re all okay and am wishing for continued safety for everyone and for Tassajara.

    Much love,

  8. nan reishin merritt
    Aug 9 2016

    Praying to Avalokitesvara.
    Be safe.

  9. We pray and meditate for the brave firefighters at Tassajara. May the fire not reach into the canyon.
    Amen and love to you all
    Joan Reinhardt-Reiss

  10. Marjorie Brown
    Aug 13 2016

    My nephew is one of those 4800+ firefighters (Arroyo Grande Hotshots) helping fight this fire. Those men and women are all amazing. Sending you all encouraging thoughts and wishing you all the best.

  11. Greg Maizlish
    Aug 16 2016

    We are praying that Tassajara & inhabitants remain safe & survive the fire unscathed.
    Greg Maizlish & Gretchen Ainsworth

  12. Ann Baker
    Aug 16 2016

    I’m thinking of you every day and hoping for the best–whatever that is.
    Our little sangha here in Maine at the Boathouse Zendo also carry you in their/our hearts.
    Even my Irish cousins are tracking the fire and wishing they could send all their rain your way.
    Thank you all for working so hard to protect Tassajara.

  13. Jana Marie Gadberry
    Aug 17 2016

    My son is one of those who stayed behind to help fight this fire and protect the grounds at Tassajara.
    I have been praying for him, as well as for all those who are involved in this struggle.
    May they all be blessed abundantly for the sacrifices they are making, and may this end safely and quickly.
    I appreciate these updates! Thank you so much!
    God bless you all!

  14. Andrea Rule
    Sep 6 2016

    Thank you Joe Rawitzer for being at Tassajara and helping train the Buddhists. I met you at Green Gulch on Arbor Day and was relieved that you would be spending the summer at Tassajara.

    And thanks and bows to the Apache firefighters as well as all others. You guys are the best of the lot!


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