As we learn about the current, as-yet-uncontained progress of the Valley Fire to our north, many Bay Area fans of Harbin Hot Springs continue to mourn its apparent loss on social media. But reps for the resort posted a statement Monday suggesting that their first focus will be rehousing their on-site and local staff who lost their homes, but that they will ultimately rebuild.
First of all, they say they are thankful they were able to evacuate absolutely everyone on Saturday afternoon swiftly, before the fire moved into their valley. "This is a miracle," they write, "and a testament to our staff and guests who reacted swiftly in an unprecedented and dangerous situation."
The resort, originally built in the late 1860s around naturally occurring hot springs, has been destroyed by fire before. As Wikipedia notes, "The region is prone to wildfires, and over the years, successive lodges have been rebuilt when they burned down."
Per the statement today, with the soaking pools apparently mostly intact, the current caretakers of the resort say they will rebuild again, in time.
Current efforts are focused on the well-being of our residents and local staff, as many of us have lost our homes and possessions. Once we leave the area shelters and are allowed to return to the area, financial support will be the most pressing need for individuals. We ask guests and friends to check this website or our Facebook page to receive updates on places that can process donations.
Photos and video have circulated online showing the destruction of the main retreat buildings, and the area is unrecognizable. That said, it appears that the historic pools still exist. Beyond that, we cannot confirm specifics or estimate damages until we are allowed to return ourselves.
Obviously, Harbin is closed indefinitely, and all future reservations have been canceled...
Our retreat center is one of the oldest hot springs of its kind in California, and it has risen from the ashes of fires in the past. Those who have visited Harbin know that it has always been much more than a collection of wooden structures. As a result, there has been an incredible outpouring of support for our community, and generous offers to help us rebuild. Our church and community have been stewards of this land for more than 40 years, and we plan to continue in our service here for years to come.
Below, the full before and after of the Temple at Harbin.
Previously: Valley Fire Grows To 61,000 Acres, Harbin Hot Springs and 400+ Homes Destroyed, One Death ReportedPhoto: Michael Hardy/Posterity Productions