Esalen is currently closed. At approximately 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, a fire broke out in Dolan Canyon, just south of John Little State Natural Reserve. Highway 1 has been closed between Lucia and Julia Pfeiffer State Park. Everyone who lives on Esalen's main property and works at Esalen was safely evacuated by 9 p.m. that evening. There were no guests at Esalen at that time.
The first responders have been nothing short of heroic in their efforts to beat back this fire. We extend a huge amount of gratitude to Big Sur Fire, CAL FIRE and the CHP. The US Forest Service has officially taken over as a main agency fighting the fire with Big Sur Fire assisting. A "Type 1" strike team arrived on Thursday, Aug. 20, to take command of the fire.
An Incident Management Team (CIIMT2) mobilized and assumed command of the Dolan Fire Saturday morning, Aug. 22. "I have been involved in the transition and planning processes much to our benefit and stressed the importance of timely and accurate information getting out to our community," Big Sur Fire Chief Matt Harris noted in a statement. "They are committed to that end and are committed to success with managing this incident."
According to Monterey County Office of Emergency Services, the fire has burned more than 127,000 and was 45 percent contained as of Friday, Sept. 18. An evacuation order was set effective Tuesday, Sept. 8, for South Coast Ridge Road Zone K, south of Lucia. The nearly 900 personnel assigned to the fire also battled record heat and falling rocks along Highway 1 over Labor Day weekend. On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Monterey County Office of Emergency Services also reported: "The fire is burning on the Monterey Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest. It is being managed by a type one incident management team, Pacific Northwest team 2. The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain including portions of the Ventana Wilderness Area. It is being managed under a full suppression strategy, providing for public and firefighter safety and utilizing firefighting techniques that have a high probability of success.
Esalen CEO Terry Gilbey and several staff were able to inspect Esalen on Friday, Sept. 4, to assess damage and determine next steps. Watch the latest report from Friday, Sept. 11, here.
We extend a big thank you to everyone who has been keeping Esalen in their thoughts, prayers and sending well wishes to those impacted by this event. We will provide additional updates on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages as things evolve.
Please consider this good local source for Big Sur- and fire-related updates.
Stay safe and be well.