Empowered Places > Sanctuaries > The Mountain Of Attention > Valley Fire

The Valley Fire
at The Mountain Of Attention

In response to the many inquiries we have been receiving about the September 2015 "Valley Fire" and The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary, we have created this special presentation. Links where you can find further information are provided below.


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention, September 2015

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention, September 2015
(click image to enlarge)


This article has several subsections:
  1. Introduction
  2. To Learn More or to Help
  3. During the Fire
  4. After the Fire
  5. Recovery

1. Introduction


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The Valley Fire, with Clear Lake and Mount Konocti in the foreground

The Valley Fire, with Clear Lake and Mount Konocti in the foreground —
September 12-14, 2015. (© Michael Hardy)
(click image to enlarge)

In September of 2015, a devastating fire — called the "Valley Fire" — swept through a large area of Lake County, California (as well as parts of Napa County and Sonoma County), with extraordinary speed, burning virtually everything in its path, before more than four thousand firefighters finally succeeded in containing it.

The Valley Fire in Northern California (September
The Valley Fire in Northern California (September 17, 2015)

The Valley Fire in Northern California (September 17, 2015)
(click image to enlarge)

The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary is located in Seigler Springs, and was surrounded by the Valley Fire in every direction:

The Valley Fire in Northern California: Seigler Springs  (September
The Valley Fire in Northern California: Seigler Springs (September 17, 2015)

The Valley Fire in Northern California: Seigler Springs (September 17, 2015)
(click image to enlarge)

Miraculously, the Sanctuary was spared the worst — the core temples, archives, residences, and structures were untouched by fire damage. This was thanks in part to the combination of a vigorous forestry management program (that had been engaged in "clear brush" practices for nearly a decade before the fire, aimed at reducing the threat of fire); the help of CalFire firefighters; and the heroic actions of a small group of devotees who protected the core of the Sanctuary from a ferocious onslaught of fire from all four sides.


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Sanctuary in the midst of devastation

Sanctuary in the midst of devastation — September 15, 2015. (© ASA)

Even though the Sanctuary core survived unscathed, several outlying buildings and holy sites were completely destroyed by the fire. (These include Quiet Dogs, Lithia Springs, Second People, and Third People.) Also, significant damage to sanctuary infrastructure (notably: the water and sewer systems) occurred, and many acres of Sanctuary forest and brush lands burned completely or in part. The homes of 140 devotees living near the Sanctuary were also lost to the fire. One devotee (Rob Litchman) lost his life in the fire (as best as we can tell — no remains were ever found).

Sections 2 and 3 of this presentation are photo and video galleries that graphically illustrate the encroachment of the Valley Fire on the Sanctuary, and some of the impact of the fire.


2. To learn more or to help

For those wanting to learn more or wanting to help, here are a couple of key resources:



3. During the Fire


click images to enlarge

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The fire's approach in the valley

The fire's approach in the valley — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The fire's approach just across Loch Lomond Road from the Sanctuary

The fire's approach just across Loch Lomond Road from the Sanctuary —
September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Flames from Shenandoah Circle descended down the hillside toward the Sanctuary (the cabin is the nearest to the road in the Circle), but were stopped at Loch Lomond Road

Flames from Shenandoah Circle descended down the hillside toward the Sanctuary (the cabin is the nearest to the road in the Circle), but were stopped at Loch Lomond Road —
September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Devotee William Gilgallon keeping the fire from crossing the road

Devotee William Gilgallon keeping the fire from crossing the road —
September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Devotee William Gilgallon keeping the fire from crossing the road

Devotee William Gilgallon keeping the fire from crossing the road —
September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The fire ascended the hill below the Manner of Flowers and Land Bridge Pavilion, but was stopped before it could proceed further

The fire ascended the hill below the Manner of Flowers and Land Bridge Pavilion, but was stopped before it could proceed further — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Barn greenhouse below Pile of Poles

Barn greenhouse below Pile of Poles — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Spot fires came very close to the Sanctuary core (in this picture: the garden shed next to Bright Behind Me), but were effectively dealt with by heroic service by a group of devotee men who stayed to fight the fire, along with the help of CalFire firefighters.

Spot fires came very close to the Sanctuary core (in this picture: the garden shed next to Bright Behind Me), but were effectively dealt with by the heroic service of a group of devotee men who stayed to fight the fire, along with the help of CalFire firefighters — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The fire in Sacred Camel Gardens

The fire in Sacred Camel Gardens— September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The fire in Sacred Camel Gardens

The fire in Sacred Camel Gardens. The camels escaped unharmed. — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Fire on the hill beyond Ordeal Bath Lodge

Fire on the hill beyond Ordeal Bath Lodge — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Fire across the creek from Earth Fire Temple

Fire across the creek from Earth Fire Temple — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Fire behind Pita Mata Mantapa

Fire behind Pita Mata Mantapa — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


4. After the Fire


I mean, what if you slept and dreamt that your house burn down and everything was destroyed. Then you woke up and you realized that you had been dreaming, and you were totally relieved. But as it happens, while you were dreaming and sleeping, your house actually did burn down, totally independent of your dreaming of it. And you have lost everything.

That is where you are. You are in that kind of place. You want to feel hunky-dory about things. But what is hunky-dory about this? You know?

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "The Message of Reality", December 30, 1998



click images to enlarge

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The ashes of the fire behind Pita Mata Mantapa

The ashes of the fire behind Pita Mata Mantapa —
September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The hillside behind Holy Cat Grotto, which leads out to Red Sitting Man, was burnt quite badly. Small scars of spot fires can be seen also in the foreground, which were effectively put out.

The hillside behind Holy Cat Grotto, which leads out to Red Sitting Man, was burnt quite badly. Small scars of spot fires can be seen also in the foreground, which were effectively put out. — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The view from the back of the Manner of Flowers, looking across the road to where Quiet Dogs once stood

The view from the back of the Manner of Flowers, looking across the road to where Quiet Dogs once stood — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Where Quiet Dogs once stood

Where Quiet Dogs once stood — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The security shed behind the Manner of Flowers. The fire was stopped before it could completely burn the shed.

The security shed behind the Manner of Flowers. The fire was stopped before it could completely burn the shed. — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
A few of the devotee men who worked around the clock to protect the sacred sites at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary. Left to right: Walter Muszynski, Dennis Leroy Stilwell and ?

A few of the devotee men who worked around the clock to protect the sacred sites at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary. Left to right: Walter Muszynski, Dennis Leroy Stilwell and ? — September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The kitchen at First People was preserved, even though the fire came extremely close to it

The kitchen at First People was preserved, even though the fire came extremely close to it —
September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Behind First People: the remains of Second People

Behind First People: the remains of Second People —
September 12-14, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Camels in the decimated Sacred Camel Gardens

Camels in the decimated Sacred Camel Gardens (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Camels in the decimated Sacred Camel Gardens

Camels in the decimated Sacred Camel Gardens (© Teresa Lynne)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The decimated Sacred Camel Gardens

The decimated Sacred Camel Gardens (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Sacred Camel Gardens on KRON TV, WHYY-FM radio, in many newspapers, and on many news sites

Sacred Camel Gardens on KRON TV, WHYY-FM radio, in many newspapers, and on many news sites, including The New York Times, The Discovery Channel, The Press Democrat, and The Sacramento Bee.
(© ASA)


Aria Simpson and her mother, Teresa Fogolini of Bodega Bay, took it upon themselves to help save 18 camels stranded at Sacred Camel Gardens, a spiritual retreat near Middletown, by setting up an online donations site that has collected $15,000 to feed the animals.

During the fire, herdsman Stuart Camps and two others guided the camels from one safe area to another as flames devoured a feed barn, fencing and the landscape around them.

"I can't put it into words," Camps said. "I'm just feeling deep gratitude and thinking of everyone who risked their lives to save them."

"New Wildfire in Northern California Destroys Homes"
The New York Times, September 20, 2015


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Sacred Camel Gardens herdsman Stuart Camps comforts one of the 18 Bactrian camels that survived the fire.

Sacred Camel Gardens herdsman Stuart Camps comforts
one of the 18 Bactrian camels that survived the fire. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Burnt hills below The Manner Of Flowers at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

Burnt hills below The Manner Of Flowers at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary —
September 14, 2015. (© ASA)

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Where the fire stopped behind The Pile Of Poles at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

Where the fire stopped behind The Pile Of Poles at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary —
September 14, 2015. (© ASA)

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Below The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

Below The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary — September 14, 2015. (© ASA)

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Looking up to The Manner Of Flowers at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary from Loch Lomond Road

Looking up to The Manner Of Flowers at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary from Loch Lomond Road —
September 14, 2015. (© ASA)

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Empty extinguishers used to fight the fire at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

Empty extinguishers used to fight the fire at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary —
September 14, 2015. (© ASA)

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Devotee support team arrives at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary and receives orientation from devotee David Johnson

Devotee support team arrives at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary and receives orientation from devotee David Johnson — September 14, 2015. (© ASA)

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Danya Parkinson working to get the generator and power supply to The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary functional again

Danya Parkinson working to get the generator and power supply to The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary functional again — September 14, 2015. (© ASA)

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
View of Land Bridge Pavilion (center) and Pile Of Poles (right) at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

View of Land Bridge Pavilion (center) & Pile Of Poles (right) at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary —
September 15, 2015. (© ASA)

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
View of where Quiet Dogs was (left), Loch Lomond Road (left to center), Land Bridge Pavilion (right) and Pile Of Poles (right) at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

View of where Quiet Dogs was (left), Loch Lomond Road (left to center), Land Bridge Pavilion (right) and Pile Of Poles (right) at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary — September 15, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
View from Loch Lomond Road of the meadow up to the back of Pile Of Poles

View from Loch Lomond Road of the meadow up to the back of Pile Of Poles —
September 15, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Entrance to The Sea Of Blankets and Mother's Bed at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

Entrance to The Sea Of Blankets and Mother's Bed at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary —
September 15, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Devotees Neem Wood, Christopher Casey and Larry Rugoff taking down trees to fortify perimeter protection at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

Devotees Neem Wood, Christopher Casey and Larry Rugoff taking down trees to fortify perimeter protection at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary — September 15, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
The Man Of Radical Understanding Lake

The Man Of Radical Understanding Lake (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
A CalFire helicopter transporting water from The Man Of Radical Understanding Lake to the still persisting fire in the canyon below Ridge Road, Black Oak Road and Forest Oaks Drive

A CalFire helicopter transporting water from The Man Of Radical Understanding Lake to the still persisting fire in the canyon below Ridge Road, Black Oak Road and Forest Oaks Drive —
September 15, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
A CalFire helicopter transporting water from The Man Of Radical Understanding Lake to the still persisting fire in the canyon below Ridge Road, Black Oak Road and Forest Oaks Drive

A CalFire helicopter transporting water from The Man Of Radical Understanding Lake to the still persisting fire in the canyon below Ridge Road, Black Oak Road and Forest Oaks Drive —
September 15, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
First Room Theater Site at The Man Of Radical Understanding

First Room Theater Site at The Man Of Radical Understanding (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Fire truck in front of Plain Talk Chapel at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

Fire truck in front of Plain Talk Chapel at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary — September 15, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
A fireman stands before Adi Da's art work, "A Horse Appears In The Wild Is Always Already The Case" (from Spectra Two, 2006), displayed on the outside wall of Plain Talk Chapel

A fireman stands before Adi Da's art work, "A Horse Appears In The Wild Is Always Already The Case" (from Spectra Two, 2006), displayed on the outside wall of Plain Talk Chapel — September 15, 2015. (© ASA)


The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Firefighters in front of Plain Talk Chapel at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

Firefighters in front of Plain Talk Chapel at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary —
September 15, 2015. (© ASA)

We mentioned earlier how many devotees living near The Mountain Of Attention lost their homes. Here is just one story, Community Works: Helping the Henrys — appearing in the Martha's Vineyard Times, December 30, 2015 — that gives you some sense for what that loss was like (for Terry Henry and Elaine Lombard), as well as the beginning of the recovery process after the fire.

Before the fire
Before the fire

Before the fire
  After the fire
After the fire
After the fire


5. Recovery

True to form, the entire worldwide community of Adidam devotees has been immensely generous in helping to restore The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary, and helping the devotees living near the Sanctuary who were affected by the Valley Fire (some of whom lost their homes), including those devotees whose ongoing service to The Mountain Of Attention is essential. Devotees' generosity has included both material and financial gifts, and the sharing of their time, energy, and love.

Since the fire, devotees have supported many recovery projects at The Mountain Of Attention including:

  • The rebuilding of the Temple at Lithia Springs.
  • The purchase of a new fire truck and fire fighting equipment.
  • The rebuilding of the structure that protects the water reservoir.
  • The clearing of debris.
  • The reconstruction of fire roads.
  • Massive amounts of earth moving to mitigate erosion, a major concern after a large wildfire.
  • The repair of damaged sewer lines, electrical wiring, generators, and pumps.

The photos below reflect only a few of these many efforts.

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
New growth near Red Sitting Man at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary

New growth near Red Sitting Man at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary —
November, 2015. (© ASA)

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Rebuilding of the Temple at Lithia Springs, with financial help from the worldwide community of devotees

Rebuilding of the Temple at Lithia Springs, with financial help from the worldwide community of devotees — November, 2015. (© ASA)

The Valley Fire at The Mountain Of Attention
Rebuilding of the Temple at Lithia Springs, with financial help from the worldwide community of devotees

Rebuilding of the Temple at Lithia Springs, with financial help from the worldwide community of devotees — November, 2015. (© ASA)

One of many worldwide community efforts:
One of many worldwide community efforts: Devotees in New Zealand made raffle prizes and delicious treats, raising thousands of dollars for their friends in Lake County, California, who had lost their homes — December, 2015.

One of many worldwide community efforts: Devotees in New Zealand made raffle prizes and delicious treats, raising thousands of dollars for their friends in Lake County, California, who had lost their homes — December, 2015.

One of many worldwide community efforts:
One of many worldwide community efforts: Devotees in New Zealand made raffle prizes and delicious treats, raising thousands of dollars for their friends in Lake County, California, who had lost their homes — December, 2015.

One of many worldwide community efforts: Devotees in New Zealand made raffle prizes and delicious treats, raising thousands of dollars for their friends in Lake County, California, who had lost their homes — December, 2015.



Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj and The Mountain Of Attention used by permission of the copyright owner: © Copyrighted materials used with the permission of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam. All rights reserved. None of these materials may be disseminated or otherwise used for any non-personal purpose without the prior agreement of the copyright owner. ADIDAM is a trademark of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as Trustee for the Avataric Samrajya of Adidam.

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