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Fire Monks, A Story of Fire, Bravery and Abandonment

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When fire swept down canyon and into the grounds of their monastery a group of five Buddhist Monks were waiting. None of them had direct fire ground experience but what they possessed was a lifetime of physical and mental training in their discipline that helped prepare them for what they faced.

Storm Watch: Big Sur Burn Areas On Alert

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Residents on the Big Sur Coast and parts of Santa Cruz County brace for the effects of heavier than normal seasonal rains. Mud, land, rock slides and downed trees are a big danger in fresh burn areas. Big Sur Kate keeps watch with generous updates including links that include the incredible image below. The Basin […]

From The Ashes; Condor Chick Survives The Basin Complex Fire

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Good news. A California Condor chick survived the Basin Complex Fire unharmed. Members of Ventana Wilderness Society hiked into the blackened forest to check on the well being of the chick. Watch the video. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXiVszDf5_o&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&fs=1] What directed my attention back to the plight of the Ventana condors was a “birding spectacle” in our own backyard […]

Cachagua Valley Visit, Post Basin Complex

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I had to see the country. Years ago I fought fire on the “front” or ocean side of the Basin Complex burn area. Twice we brought crews down from Santa Cruz County late in the afternoon and scraped lines around fires burning on million dollar view sites. Nothing like a beautiful Pacific Ocean sunset as […]

"I Think We Saved Tassajara" A Fire Story Like No Other

Tassajara Mountain Center Director David Zimmerman recounts how he and four fellow “fire-monks” faced the Basin Complex Fire as it swept down canyon from four sides on the afternoon of July 10. We read about preparations for the fire’s arrival and circumstances that led to the decision to stay, now we are treated to a […]

Forest Service Head Pops In On Basin Complex Fire Camp

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U.S. Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell visited the Basin Complex incident base today. Incident Commander Jeanne Pincha-Tulley and her command staff also entertained an incident management team from South Carolina who were flown in to observe.On July 17 Ms. Pincha-Tulley was brought in from another fire to take over for the departing Mike Deitrich. I […]

Basin Complex Scars 152,000 Acres, End Near

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Basin Complex command estimates the final total acreage will be 162,818 with a final cost of $78,000,000.Current containment is estimated is at 79% though a containment line has been around the perimeter for more than a week. Firefighters are burning out any green left inside lines, dropping snags and removing equipment. Full scale demobilization of […]

Tale of Two Learning Centers, U.C. Berkeley & San Francisco Zen Center

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Both maintain learning retreats in the same forest, both share a similar mission of teaching. Both respect the land they occupy. Both strive to do right by nature and society. The University of California’s Hastings Reserve is one of 36 reserves in the Nature Reserve Systems maintained by the University of California. The NRS mission […]

New Basin Complex Commander Establishes Her Presence

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On her first full day as Basin Complex Fire incident commander Jeanne Pincha-Tulley put her public relations skills to work. I suggested here and still believe her assignment is a move by the Forest Service to repair damage caused by previous command teams on both sides of the fire. This morning she will submit to […]

Tassajara: Victims of USFS Bureaucratic Incompetence

Details of the heroic fight to save the Tassajara Zen Center are filtering out. Center Director David Zimmerman, one of the five “fire monks” describes the events that led to the final evacuation of the Center here. From Zimmerman’s story we learn Tassajara Center residents prepared for more than two weeks for the arrival of […]

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