By Sam Ervin
But, it’s not insured!
After the initial fire inspection in Spring of 2009, the Fire Department of Ventura County required Meher Mount to clear the shrub growth at least another 30 feet from the "temporary" workshop. That was in addition to the 70 feet that had already been cleared.
Manager/Caretaker Ray Johnston told them that Meher Mount had never been required to do this clearance in the past. And, since Meher Mount doesn’t insure the garage, fire fighters were not expected to try and save the building in a fire.
FIRE FIGHTERS NOT FROM THE AREA
The new fire department captain said that in case of a fire, there was a good chance the fire fighters who would show up would be from somewhere else and not know what’s insured or what to save, and therefore, would try to save everything.
They were particularly insistent on removing the creosote bushes from the slope beneath the barn, saying they were like giant torches in a fire.
Initially, they asked that the work be done by June 25, 2007, but Ray negotiated for more time.
NEED TO HIRE OUTSIDE HELP AND EQUIPMENT
Ray knew that even the new Kubota tractor was too small to excavate the root systems of the creosote bushes on slope below the "temporary" workshop.
I authorized him to hire a bulldozer for the work. He got two bids, and their hourly bids were the same, $60 per hour. But Richie McKiver had the bigger bulldozer and gave Meher Mount a flat rate while throwing in some extra work while he was there. The total cost for his work is was $1,100.
The Fire Dept also requested more clearance along and above the driveway in the large oak overhangs in front of the center. This has been completed The new chain saw approved by the board and Richie's help was useful in accomplishing the tree clearances to 14 feet.
MEHER MOUNT PASSES FIRE INSPECTION
As of July 18, 2009, all the required clearance to meet Ventura County Fire Department inspections was completed, in addition to disposing of all the dead materials in areas well away from the house and structures. All the roads and pathways at Meher Mount were also dragged and leveled.