(7/10/2008, 6:20 PM PDT)
We have heard from Director David Zimmerman and everyone is safe at Tassajara. The initial hit from the fire has passed to the East but they are still engaged in putting out the occasional spot fires. We have lost a few buildings, including the birdhouse and the bathroom by the pool. The Overlook trail hill is burned and part of the lower garden is lost. We will post a detailed report tomorrow, once all the facts are in.
While there is much work to be done and we're not completely out of the woods, we are very relieved that the fire has passed and our friends are safe.
Our deepest gratitude to Abbot Steve, David, Mako, Graham and Colin.
Our deepest gratitude to all of you that have worked so hard to contact authorities to help defend Tassajara.
(7/10/2008, 4:30 PM PDT)
Jamesburg reports that they are seeing more air support in the area of Tassajara in the form of helicopters and airplanes dumping water.
At 2:15 today, Director David Zimmerman reported via telephone that everyone is safe at Tassajara and that the fire has entered Tassajara. The crew is putting out spot fires, and they are continuing to water down the buildings and the grounds. The feeling is that with the watering, the riparian valley is defending against the fire. We will continue to update you as information becomes available.
(7/10/2008, 11:00 AM PDT, updated letter to clarify first sentence)
Last night the majority of people at Tassajara evacuated, however five people chose to stay behind. They are: Abbot Steve Stucky, Director David Zimmerman, Mako Voelkel, Graham Ross and Colin Gipson. All five are Zen Center priests and among the most senior residents of Tassajara. They make up the core team of the fire protection efforts. Their primary concern is safety, and not saving buildings. Right now, Tassajara is the safest place for them to be as the safety of Tassajara Road has been compromised by fire.
As you can imagine, this situation is changing constantly. We will concentrate on keeping the lines of communication open and bring you as much information as possible under these conditions. Like wildfires, information and misinformation can spread rapidly, and we will do our best to provide you with the most accurate and current updates in a timely manner. Sitting with Fire will continue to update as well.
As of this morning, there is no fire at Tassajara. The people at Jamesburg are in constant contact with those in Tassajara. The Tassajara phone lines are working and much as been done to protect them.
In a community meeting at City Center last night, Treasurer Greg Fain who recently returned from Tassajara explained that there are many levels of protection in place and many contingency plans. Fire breaks surround Tassajara, there are sprinkler systems a top buildings from end to end, and all of the brush and leaves have been removed. There is plenty of available water and they've been watering the area twice-a-day for two weeks. There is plenty of fire safety equipment, oxygen tanks, food and potable water.
Thank you for your support, concern and practice. This is a difficult time for all of us and an opportunity to support each other in the triple treasures of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
P.S. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .