Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center

Blog / Post

Mountain Fire at Zen Center: Update

July 22, 2013 by Yugen

Jim Lakey Rev. Jim Yugen Lakey
Yokoji Zen Mountain Center

Mountain Fire at Zen Center: Update

Fire crews remove blocked culverts and debris from the stream

Over the last couple of days, a small crew of residents worked through the day and into the night at Yokoji, evacuating when the rain intensified bringing the risk of mud slides. We worked along side fire crews to try and mitigate the damage: picnic tables, debris and rocks were washed down through the grounds, blocking the flow of water through the stream bed. The parking lot and workshop are a foot deep in mud and waterlogged ash as the rain fell and washed all the burned top soil down the valley.

Channels have been dug, earth, rocks and sandbags piled: we hope to avoid structural damage to the buildings as the rains come down. At the moment, all we can do is damage limitation. Tomorrow we will go in and assess the extent of the damage once the immediate threat of flash floods has passed. Riverside County Fire Department has placed an Evacuation Warning for residents of Apple Canyon Road, north of Bonita Vista Road, which we will observe until it is safe to return tomorrow.

Walking up to the well site today, we found out that the wells have been destroyed as have the water lines feeding into the water tanks. Electrical and gas lines have been torn and melted at other points around the Center.

While the buildings still stand, there is devastation all through the grounds.

Over the next week, starting tomorrow, we will be meeting with the assigned insurance adjuster and professionals from the Forest Service, CalFire and some local soil engineers. The State of California is likely to declare the canyon an official disaster area in the next few days.

We have a massive amount of work ahead of us. The only way Yokoji can be rebuilt is with your help. Please donate what you can to help rebuild the center. Please pass this plea on to anyone you know that may be willing to help.

We will also need volunteers to help out over the coming days and weeks. Please contact the office via email (zmc@zmc.org) to let us know your availability so we can begin to organize teams to help out with the work. Please email rather than just show up so we can make the best use of everyone's efforts. Please include a phone number at which we can reach you.

Flood damage at Yokoji Zen Mountain Center Picnic tables washed down by flash floods

Workshop a foot deep in mud and debris Workshop a foot deep in mud and debris

Mud by the workshop Mud and debris by the workshop

The memorial site The memorial site

Solar panels at risk from flash floods Solar panels at risk from flash floods


  • Kathleen:

    22 Jul 2013 17:38:58

    Let me know when you need able bodied individuals to help. Looks like you will need some engineers to review the landscape to best prepare for the next rain.

  • Yugen:

    22 Jul 2013 17:40:54

    Thank you Kathleen. Please email the office (address on website footer or linked in the blog post, too) so we can add your name to the list. If you let us know which days you are available and a phone number we could reach you at, that would be a massive help.

  • Jimyo:

    22 Jul 2013 20:03:09

    I’ll get up there as soon as I can. I should be available this next weekend. I’ll let ya know

  • Andrew Jones/Heather Martonik:

    22 Jul 2013 22:25:42

    Ya, already E’d and then found these pics. 760 822-1299. As stated previously, I can bring stuff up in my truck to wherever the residents are located, eeek, my distress is showing through. Waiting your word on how I can assist.
    Namu Butsu

  • Doetsu:

    22 Jul 2013 23:46:37

    Yugen, we will be in touch with you soon to help in any way we are able.

  • Henrike Jishin:

    23 Jul 2013 00:53:50

    Yugen, wish I was closer. Thanks for the updates and pictures. It’s good to get a sense of what you guys are dealing with. Even though the buildings are still there, it looks so sad. I’ll contribute in the way I can right now. Good luck to you all. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. Sweet supportive hug, Jishin

  • Laurie Mort:

    23 Jul 2013 07:27:54

    Thanks for posting this info! We are pulling together a fundraiser event for you here in Oceanside. It looks like it will be held on August 10th but fine details are yet to be completed. We will let you know. Thanks!

  • Laurie Mort:

    23 Jul 2013 08:49:57

    Inner Strength Yoga & Healing Center will hold a fundraising event on August 10th in Oceanside, Ca. We have 2 Musicians that have agreed to help out thus far and looking for one more. The venue is yet to be determined as our center is an intimate space. We already have one person that is offering a space next to us and still hoping for a larger one. Our thoughts are with you at this time. If you need additional bodies to help, please let us know. (760) 822-1348

  • rinsho:

    23 Jul 2013 12:15:24

    I’m lost for words I can’t imagine how devastating this has been for you all nature is ruthless it seems and I don’t understand…….love to all x x Rinsho

  • A. Jesse Jiryu Davis:

    23 Jul 2013 18:07:22

    Thinking of you! Will send a donation.

  • Genku:

    24 Jul 2013 12:57:20

    Hey Sangha, and Yugen the webmeister: these updates are critical to our healing up and shoveling out. Deep Gassho. Let Melissa know I can do dishes saturday the 3rd August in DHS, or watch kids, or haul stuff up the hill or whatevers. I’m on lock-down here for work etc. but I will save that day.

  • Jundo Cohen:

    24 Jul 2013 17:40:12

    Our thoughts with you. We have asked members of our community to offer a donation to help with the restoration.

    Gassho, Jundo Cohen, Treeleaf Sangha

  • WaYu:

    24 Jul 2013 23:46:52

    No words. Just tears and commitment to help as much as I can.

  • Deborah Johnson:

    25 Jul 2013 08:05:38

    I want to help. I’ll be back from summer trip at the end of August. If you plan a time for volunteers, let me know. I have an environmental health specialist certification, if that helps. Also can clean, haul, and scrub.

  • Alex:

    29 Jul 2013 04:01:52

    Best of luck! Wish I could be there to help

Leave a Comment

Subscribe to the Yokoji Blog.