Sobranes wildfire forces evacuation of Sweetwater

Hello dear friends,

Thank you all for your love and support this last several days. Your kind words have meant so much to us. We apologize for not being able to reply to each heartfelt correspondence individually.

On Friday, July 22nd, Kay smelled smoke while shuttling out a retreatant to the Hoist. Then driving down to the coast, she discovered that there was a fire burning at Garrapata State Park (about 3-5 miles north of Sweetwater Sanctuary). Cory immediately checked in with our emergency neighborhood call and email chains. After some investigation, we learned that the fire at 12pm that day was at 5 acres and firefighters seemed confident that they could contain it.

Unfortunately, the winds shifted and gusts up to 50mph fanned the flames and sent them southward down the range. After filling our water tanks, shutting windows, and shuttling out the last two retreatants at 9:30pm Friday night, Kay returned to Sweetwater to receive a mandatory evacuation notice for Palo Colorado Canyon. She quickly packed a few things, shut off the propane tanks, put out the fire hoses, and left the canyon herself.

By Saturday morning, the “Soberanes Fire” was burning over 3,000 acres and moving very fast to the south. On Sunday, it was at about 10,000 acres with only 5% containment. We were told that fire was actively burning in our canyon, but it was too soon to tell what structures remained.

Monday we were told by the authorities that it would be some time before we would have definitive information about what has burned and what has survived this very hot and fast fire. As of today (Tuesday), it is now burning 20,000 acres and is only 10% contained. Firefighters from all over the state have courageously joined the effort. It will likely be several more days before we learn anything new and/or may be able to re-enter the canyon ourselves to survey the damage.

We have been deeply touched by the care, concern, and support of our neighbors in Palo Colorado Canyon. They immediately took us under their wing knowing that we were new to the area and it’s emergency systems. There are many who face the possibility of losing the homes they’ve built by hand and lived in for decades. Many are uninsured. Amazingly, there has not yet been serious injury or loss of life in this powerful fire.

Please keep this beautiful land, it’s beings, and this incredible community in your prayers and tonglen practice. We will keep you posted as we receive further information.

Images are from Big Sur Kate’s blog which is providing invaluable up to date information on the fire. You can read her blog and see more images at –

Much love and gratitude,

Kay and Cory








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