The Post: Fire Updates
We are posting news about the fire and our recovery as soon as we have definitive information. Check back regularly for updates.
The most recent posts appear at the top. The list on the right may help you locate specific posts.
Erosion from ground saturation is a big issue for the Harbin landscape this Winter. Our fire crew has been working extra hard to drape these coiled necklaces of straw on the hillside above the Mainside area. These wattles, in combination with barley seed, hay bales and felled trees are the main defense against El Niño. With luck, Mother Nature will approve of her new adornments and the pools remain clear of debris.
Harbin was featured in this article by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We thank them for telling a part of our story.
By the time you read this each of our residents and staff members should have received a donation check from the staff relief fund totaling just under $1000. Your generosity has had a very direct financial and emotional impact on our community. On behalf of our residents and staff, please accept our warmest gratitude.
We’ve heard from the local, professional crews that are contracted to address the fire damage in Lake County that Harbin is due to have its clean-up begin sometime in the next 4 weeks. Once the clean-up begins it will be a month of intense work to get the grounds cleared of fire debris. Does this mean that the pools are soon to open, or that visitors can return? Unfortunately it does not. In fact those days are quite a ways off and much more work is needed to come. This is only just the first step in remediating the lands and pool area… but it is the first step and that makes us happy.
Each day Harbin receives numerous inquiries about volunteering and rebuilding. We hear from residents, staff and guests alike who wish to pick up a shovel or swing a hammer and get the pools open. These requests remind us that Harbin is a part of many, many lives.
Please know that if there was a way to channel these offers we would, and that we are touched by the numbers of you who have reached out in this way.
Harbin will be rebuilt. Yet before that happens major efforts in clean-up, remediation, planning and design need to take place. This is an enormous task, and one that cannot be rushed.
There is, however, a way to contribute. Hold in your memory what Harbin was to you, and keep in your vision what it can become…and remind us!
We would like to make it possible for you to connect with your favorite Harbin therapists. Though sessions won’t be available at Harbin for quite some time, it may be possible to rediscover these gifted healers in another time and space. See Jim Gilkeson’s link below for information on Harbin Practitioners. http://jimgilkeson.com/harbin-practitioners_429.html
Over the last 10 days, Harbin employees have been returning to Lake County as various neighborhoods have been opened to residents. As you can imagine, this has been an emotional time for us. Many have returned to piles of ash where their homes once stood, while others found their homes intact, but the surrounding neighborhood destroyed. The charred hills in the distance remind us of the extent of the firestorm.
Harbin itself has been transformed. Although a few random structures still stand, most buildings and all resident housing on property have been destroyed. The pools still exist, as do the springs, but the plumbing and treatment systems will need major work. Until an assessment of the damage is complete, and professional cleanup crews are dispatched, the area is off limits due to major safety concerns.
As devastating as the losses have been, it’s quite heartening to see the determination, compassion and support that this event has unleashed in our community. Chance meetings in town are major reunions. Tears are often accompanied by laughter. Some are planning to move on, so goodbyes often carry more meaning. Hugs last a bit longer than a few weeks ago.
There are many questions unanswered at this time, but we are moving forward toward a new future for Harbin and our community. We’ll keep you posted.
Today, President Obama declared a major disaster for the areas affected by the Valley fire. This will release federal funding to help the individual victims as well as state and local government. Individual assistance includes grants for temporary housing, home repairs and uninsured-property losses, etc. This is very good news for many Harbin residents, especially those who lost housing. Thanks, President Obama!
The news of the Valley fire has spread worldwide. We Harbin residents and employees, nearly 300 of us, have had to leave our sacred land. We left so quickly many people only had the clothes on their backs, some of our animals were left behind.
We are very sorry that we cannot provide an update on the conditions on our property, structures, or animals at this time. Although some Lake County residents have been allowed to briefly visit their property, fire officials are still refusing to allow us to enter the Harbin valley due to very dangerous conditions, including falling trees, bridge destruction, down power lines, etc.
As you can imagine, this is incredibly frustrating for us, especially after viewing videos and photographs posted online by individuals who trespassed on our property. Authorities will be arresting anyone attempting to enter the area, or crossing CHP blockades.
We have not been given an estimation on when we may visit for our initial inspection. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to gain safe access to our home, and will immediately report on our finding here, and on our Facebook page.