Sunday, August 16, 2015

Rocky Fire or the Tale of Two Cottages

A year and a half ago I was able to assist the Zen Center being built in Lower Lake with two cottages that were being used to house the workers from Japan who are here to build the hand crafted cedar temple imported from Japan.
June 2015
Two weeks ago a wild land fire (the Rocky Fire) started at the same corner as the Zen Center.  At first the wind was favorable but then Friday night the fire morphed and 22,000 acres burned in 5 hours.  I was certain over the weekend that the half built temple and the cottage were gone as they were dead center in middle of the fire.

But then on Monday the Zen Center saw one of the news photos that showed the lumber being stored in the parking lot.
After the fire was under control, it turned out that a friend from Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue was involved with the engines there and sent some photos.
When the smoke cleared the grading contractor was able to go to the site to see how things were.
Temple with the fire behind it and to the right.
Road from the temple to the cottage.
Road past the cottage.
Caretaker's House and Office.
So obviously the firefighter who were on the lines here were amazing as you can see how close the fire was to all of these structures - within feet.  But almost 100 structures were lost and I also have to attribute the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) code also know as Chapter 7A that is being applied in many rural areas such as this helping with the saving of these structures. 
Non-combustible exterior materials, enclosed soffits, fire rated windows and doors and minimum 6 x 6 posts all contribute to making flying embers from spreading to these structures.  In many ways these codes that may seem expensive at the time of construction in the long run they may be a great savings.