23 October 2008

Big Sur Hermitage Safe and Monks return

Update, 27, October: The monks returned to New Camaldoli Hermitage on Saturday (October 25). At this time they expect that guests (even those just passing through and not staying overnight) will be allowed to come to the Hermitage next Friday (October 31, Halloween). Right now there is still a lot of heavy equipment on the Hermitage driveway that would make it difficult for guests to come in and for the firefighers to move the equipment around.

The Chalk Fire update posted on Inciweb this morning is apparently the last update that will be posted...that clearly means that the work is really limited to mopping up and catching a few small hotspots.

Update, 26 October: Sorry, no more recent new news about the Hermitage. However, in this case I am assuming no news is good news and that it means the projected reopening for this weekend came off without a hitch. I will be on retreat for this week (beginning this evening) and will be posting here on the blog, but I may not be in contact with others who can give me information. We'll see. Certainly if I hear anything contrary to the supposed good news I will post it here.

(23, October, 2008) More prayers are requested for the Big Sur Hermitage. The monks have evacuated but the latest news is the fire is closer to the hermitage than it has been in 50 years of fires, and is actually burning parts of the monks' property. The winds are uncertain and this adds to the danger. The fire had been almost completely contained (83%) but with the winds and change in humidity the story is different now.

A core group of monks remain at the monastery but it is uncertain how long that will be either. Others are at St Clare's retreat house in Soquel and several are at Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley. All are safe but concerned about the Hermitage.