MEHER MOUNT

9902 Sulphur Mountain Road
Ojai, CA 93023-9375

Phone: 805-640-0000
Email: info@mehermount.org

HOURS

Wednesday-Sunday: Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Monday & Tuesday: Closed

MANAGER/CARETAKERS

Buzz & Ginger Glasky

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Sam Ervin, Preident
Ron Holsey, Vice President
Ursula Reinhart, Treasurer
Jim Whitson, Director
Richard Mannis, Director

OFFICERS

Margaret Magnus, Secretary

9902 Sulphur Mountain Rd
Ojai, CA, 93023
United States

(805) 640-0000

Story Blog

Anecdotes, activities and stories about Meher Mount - past, present and future.

Break Out the Champagne - Fire Recovery Is Complete

Margaret Magnus

By Margaret Magnus

 A BURNED COAST LIVE OAK in the Prasad Orchard below Baba's Tree at Meher Mount a month after the December 2017 Thomas Fire. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, January 5, 2018)

A BURNED COAST LIVE OAK in the Prasad Orchard below Baba's Tree at Meher Mount a month after the December 2017 Thomas Fire. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, January 5, 2018)

On December 4, 2017, the Thomas Fire hit Meher Mount. Within a few days, the damage assessment began. At first, it seemed straightforward: Document the damage. Make a list for insurance. Begin to repair the damage.

There was some thought that in 90 days the fire recovery "to do list" would be complete, pending insurance reimbursement. As fire recovery progressed, the to do list never seemed to get shorter. In fact, each newly completed or half-completed task seemed to generate several more related tasks. The to do list was never ending.

WHAT VICTORY LOOKS LIKE

 RANDOM PAGES from the activity logs of Margaret Magnus and Sam Ervin who started writing down daily accomplished tasks for fire recovery and regeneration at Meher Mount just to feel that progress was being made. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, 2018)

RANDOM PAGES from the activity logs of Margaret Magnus and Sam Ervin who started writing down daily accomplished tasks for fire recovery and regeneration at Meher Mount just to feel that progress was being made. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, 2018)

As the 90-day mark approached, it was clear that the recovery could go on for many more months. At that point, Board President Sam Ervin and Communications Director Margaret Magnus began keeping a daily log of activities, just to feel that there was some progress even if it was not always clearly visible.

Then it dawned on them – draw a line through the task list. When all the recovery projects before that line were completed, declare victory.

Sure, there would still be a long to do list, but fire recovery would be accomplished. All the remaining projects that had been ignited by the fire would then be part of the next phase: renewal.

Now, seven months - 207 days to be exact - after the Thomas Fire, Meher Mount is declaring victory. The task list is still long, but every operational aspect related to fire damage has been fixed.

Break out the champagne, it’s a celebration.

 MAP showing Meher Mount's boundaries and major areas suffering damage from the December 2017 Thomas Fire. (Image: Byron Pinckert, December 21, 2017)

MAP showing Meher Mount's boundaries and major areas suffering damage from the December 2017 Thomas Fire. (Image: Byron Pinckert, December 21, 2017)

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT

The timeline below outlines some of the major milestones of fire recovery – many of which have a related article or story-blog post that gives a flavor of what happened.

When you look at the milestones, it’s clear that fire recovery was a team effort. It could not have been accomplished without many helping hands: individuals who stepped forward to offer their time, energy and skills, and the hundreds who donated funds in support of this effort.

Thank you for helping Meher Mount continue to serve as a place of world-wide pilgrimage dedicated to Avatar Meher Baba. When He visited on August 2, 1956, Meher Baba said, "I love Meher Mount very much and feel happy here." 

TIMELINE OF MAJOR FIRE RECOVERY MILESTONES

 AN AERIAL VIEW of some of the damage at Meher Mount from the December 2017 Thomas Fire. The road/trail goes from Avatar's Point - where Baba's Tree is located - to the Prasad Orchard. (Drone Photo: Russell Latimer, January 4, 2018)

AN AERIAL VIEW of some of the damage at Meher Mount from the December 2017 Thomas Fire. The road/trail goes from Avatar's Point - where Baba's Tree is located - to the Prasad Orchard. (Drone Photo: Russell Latimer, January 4, 2018)

Thomas Fire – December 4, 2017: Fire strikes Meher Mount. Manager/Caretakers Buzz & Ginger Glasky evacuate with their Airstream trailer to Ojai, then to Santa Barbara, and finally to Oceano to escape the fire and smoke. 

Baba’s Tree Badly Burned – December 4, 2017: High winds and fire shatter the crown, and the largest parts of the tree fall to the ground.

 BABA'S TREE at Meher Mount is burned and toppled in the December 2017 Thomas Fire. (Drone Photo: Russell Latimer, January 4, 2018)

BABA'S TREE at Meher Mount is burned and toppled in the December 2017 Thomas Fire. (Drone Photo: Russell Latimer, January 4, 2018)

Assess the Damage – December 6-12, 2017: Several visits to assess the fire damage, take photos and meet with insurance representatives.    

 BABA'S TREE ASHES were collected and placed in clean canning jars at Meher Mount. (Photo: Cassandra Bramucci, December 16, 2017)

BABA'S TREE ASHES were collected and placed in clean canning jars at Meher Mount. (Photo: Cassandra Bramucci, December 16, 2017)

Gather Baba’s Tree Ash – December 16 & 21, 2017: Gather the ash from the heart of Baba’s Tree to preserve for the future.

Map the Fire Damage – December 21, 2017 & January 4, 2018: Create maps of specific areas damaged by the fire and take photos. Shoot drone footage.

Security Fence – December 21, 2018: 100-feet of temporary security fence with screen installed at entryway. Add closed signs and cover welcome sign.

  • Participants: Cal-State Site Services, Margaret Magnus, Sam Ervin, Buzz Glasky, Ginger Glasky

Consult with Arborist/Care Plan – January 4, 2018: Meher Mount engages ISA® certified arborist Michael Inaba to develop a care plan for nurturing Baba’s Tree.

 ARBORIST MICHAEL INABA shows Margaret Magnus how to wrap limbs of Baba's Tree at Meher Mount for sunburn protection and then cut holes in the floating row cover to allow the new branches to grow. (Photo: Sam Ervin, February 17, 2018)

ARBORIST MICHAEL INABA shows Margaret Magnus how to wrap limbs of Baba's Tree at Meher Mount for sunburn protection and then cut holes in the floating row cover to allow the new branches to grow. (Photo: Sam Ervin, February 17, 2018)

Insurance Claim – January 15, 2018: Submit first round of insurance claims. 

  • Participants: Sam Ervin, Buzz Glasky, Margaret Magnus

Install Water Pipe to Baba’s Tree – January 18, 2018: Dig trench and install water pipe, faucets and other plumbing to bring water to Baba’s Tree from the pool/reservoir.   

 VOLUNTEER JIM AUSTER, a former board member, uses a trench digger at Meher Mount to create a 600-foot trench from the pool/reservoir to Baba's Tree to set up a watering system. (Photo: Sam Ervin, January 18, 2018)

VOLUNTEER JIM AUSTER, a former board member, uses a trench digger at Meher Mount to create a 600-foot trench from the pool/reservoir to Baba's Tree to set up a watering system. (Photo: Sam Ervin, January 18, 2018)

Seclusion Fence – January 17, 2018: Temporary security fence around Baba’s Tree installed.

 CAL-STATE SITE SERVICES installs a temporary seclusion fence around Baba's Tree at Meher Mount to protect visitors and to help the tree recover from the December 2017 Thomas Fire. (Photo: Sam Ervin, January 17, 2018)

CAL-STATE SITE SERVICES installs a temporary seclusion fence around Baba's Tree at Meher Mount to protect visitors and to help the tree recover from the December 2017 Thomas Fire. (Photo: Sam Ervin, January 17, 2018)

Phonathon – January 27, 2018: Board and volunteers make telephone calls, send emails, and write letters to raise money for the $7,500 Baba’s Tree Challenge Match. Goal is reached.   

  • Participants: Margaret Magnus, Sam Ervin, Wayne Myers, Ron Holsey, Robert Turnage, Jim Whitson, Ursula Reinhart, Richard Mannis, Kyle Morrison, Sarah Dwyer

Fire Clean-up Day – January 28, 2018: A team of volunteers cleans fire debris from Meher Mount. Cleared storage pad for Baba’s Tree wood.

  • Participants: Yolanda Koumidou, Jim Auster, Merrilee Bliss, Bing Heckman, Annabelle Orme, Tim DeGraff, Cassandra Bramucci, Jim Whedon, Ian Dibble, Nancy Rugo, Michelle Choug, Buzz Glasky, Ginger Glasky, Khushnam Crawford, Jim Whitson, Sam Ervin, Margaret Magnus, Homayar Gandhi, Marta Flores, Fred Stankus, Gigi Driessen, Satya Keyes, Sarah Larsen, Jerry Hittleman, Lynne Goldfarb, Mike Franklin, Terry Mendoza

  • Event Announcement: Fire Cleanup Day

  • Story Blog: Thomas Fire No Match for Meher Baba and His Lovers

 JIM WHEDON (right) giving instructions regarding tilling the hardened, ash-crusted soil under a Coast Life Oak at the entryway to Meher Mount. (Left to right): Ian Dibble, Yolanda Koumidou, Nancy Rugo, Michelle Choug, Annabelle Orme and Tim DeGraff. (Photo: Cassandra Bramucci, January 28, 2018)

JIM WHEDON (right) giving instructions regarding tilling the hardened, ash-crusted soil under a Coast Life Oak at the entryway to Meher Mount. (Left to right): Ian Dibble, Yolanda Koumidou, Nancy Rugo, Michelle Choug, Annabelle Orme and Tim DeGraff. (Photo: Cassandra Bramucci, January 28, 2018)

Harvest Wood from Baba’s Tree – February 5-7 & February 13, 2018: Harvest, mill and store wood from fallen and burned parts of Baba’s Tree

 HAROLD GREENE (left) documenting the milling process while Peter Harnisch (right) handles the portable sawmill he brought to harvest the fallen wood from Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, February 5, 2018)

HAROLD GREENE (left) documenting the milling process while Peter Harnisch (right) handles the portable sawmill he brought to harvest the fallen wood from Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, February 5, 2018)

Caretakers Last Day – February 15, 2018: Official last day for Manager/Caretakers Buzz & Ginger Glasky after four-and-a-half years of service.

Baba’s Birthday Open House & Farewell to the Caretakers – February 25, 2018: First public event since the fire; celebrate Baba’s Birthday; say goodbye to Buzz & Ginger Glasky.

Ray Johnston in Residence – February 15-23, 2018: Former Manager/Caretaker Ray Johnston (2002-2005, 2006-2010) stays at Meher Mount to help with recovery.

 RAY JOHNSTON, former Manager/Caretaker, returns to Meher Mount to help with fire recovery. He fills a hole created when the 2017 Thomas Fire burned a dead oak and its roots. The fire did not touch the Topa Topa Patio with the exception of some charring of the bamboo patio cover. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, February 2018)

RAY JOHNSTON, former Manager/Caretaker, returns to Meher Mount to help with fire recovery. He fills a hole created when the 2017 Thomas Fire burned a dead oak and its roots. The fire did not touch the Topa Topa Patio with the exception of some charring of the bamboo patio cover. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, February 2018)

Replacement Trailer – February 25, 2018: Meher Mount purchases used trailer from Buzz Glasky to replace burned trailer.

  • Participants: Sam Ervin, Jim Whitson, Robert Turnage, Buzz Glaksy

 TWO TRAILERS - One survived the fire (left), and other did not (right). The burned wooden trailer belonged to Meher Mount. The metal trailer was purchased from Buzz Glasky and used extensively during wood harvesting and fire recovery. (Photo: Buzz Glaksy, December 2017)

TWO TRAILERS - One survived the fire (left), and other did not (right). The burned wooden trailer belonged to Meher Mount. The metal trailer was purchased from Buzz Glasky and used extensively during wood harvesting and fire recovery. (Photo: Buzz Glaksy, December 2017)

 BURNED PIPE is part of the fire damage at the well head at Meher Mount. The electrical also needed to be replaced so that water could be pumped to the reservoir and then to the Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters. (Photo: Buzz Glasky, December 2017)

BURNED PIPE is part of the fire damage at the well head at Meher Mount. The electrical also needed to be replaced so that water could be pumped to the reservoir and then to the Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters. (Photo: Buzz Glasky, December 2017)

Interim Caretaker Cassandra Bramucci Starts – February 23, 2018: Cassandra Bramucci moves her RV to Meher Mount to start as Interim Caretaker until August 15, 2018.              

Water to Pool/Reservoir – March 6, 2018: Electrical restored at the well. Water pumped to pool/reservoir.

  • Participants: Sam Ervin, Cassandra Bramucci, Ojai Electric

Restoration Weekend – March 10-11, 2018: Volunteers work days for Baba’s Tree care, clean-up, tree trimming, road clearance.          

 AT DAY'S END on Sunday, March 11, 2018, after a weekend of fire recovery and restoration at Meher Mount. The three blue lumps are the three benches made from fallen wood of Baba's Treet. Baba's Tree is in seclusion. The rains have helped life return to the burned landscape. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

AT DAY'S END on Sunday, March 11, 2018, after a weekend of fire recovery and restoration at Meher Mount. The three blue lumps are the three benches made from fallen wood of Baba's Treet. Baba's Tree is in seclusion. The rains have helped life return to the burned landscape. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, March 11, 2018)

Remove Big Eucalyptus – March 8-9, 2018: SCE removes big eucalyptus that threatened electrical wires. Originally tagged on January 8, 2018.

  • Participants: Southern California Edison, Michael Inaba, Sam Ervin

Remove Eucalyptus Stand – March 27-31, 2018: Burned Eucalyptus grove removed from the property. Grind stump of big eucalyptus.

Plumbing – March-April 2018: Plumbing for new HVAC system, and kitchen. Upgrade bathroom toilets.

  • Participants: Cassandra Bramucci, Sam Ervin

 NEW HEATING/AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM for the Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, April 2018)

NEW HEATING/AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM for the Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, April 2018)

Accounting – March-June, 2018: Track and correctly categorize all expenses, donations, capital improvements, and fire-related costs and reimbursements.

  • Participants: Margaret Magnus, Robert Turnage, Vickie Robertson (Robertson Bookkeeping Solutions)

HVAC – March-June 2018: Upgrade and replace heating and air conditioning system; clean air ducts.

  • Participants: Cassandra Bramucci, Sam Ervin, AirTight Heating & Cooling Systems

Eric Ashelman in Residence – April 3-8, 2018: Volunteer Eric Ashelman stays at Meher Mount to help with mowing and fire abatement.

  • Participants: Eric Ashelman, Cassandra Bramucci, Sam Ervin

Robert Turnage & Kristina Somma in Residence – April 18-30, 2018: Board member Robert Turnage and his wife Kristina Somma stay at Meher Mount to help with fire recovery and renewal.

  • Participants: Robert Turnage, Kristina Somma, Cassandra Bramucci

 ARTISAN HAROLD GREENE cutting a space for the legs for the bench made from fallen wood of Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, April 20, 2018)

ARTISAN HAROLD GREENE cutting a space for the legs for the bench made from fallen wood of Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, April 20, 2018)

Benches from Baba’s Tree – April 19-21, 2018: Three outdoor benches are made from limbs of Baba’s Tree. Reporters from the Ojai Valley News and Ventura County Star visit to write the story.   

Burned Front Fence Replaced – April 2018: Security fence removed; new iron fence installed. White gate painted black to match fence.

 DIRECTIONAL SIGNS for inspection to get the DigAlert sign-off so Ojai Electrical can replace the electrical poles as required by Southern California Edison before they can make repairs and restore power. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, January 17, 2018)

DIRECTIONAL SIGNS for inspection to get the DigAlert sign-off so Ojai Electrical can replace the electrical poles as required by Southern California Edison before they can make repairs and restore power. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, January 17, 2018)

Electrical System Restored – April 2018: Burned components replaced, electrical boxes upgraded, two poles replaced, permits pulled, inspection, coordination with Southern California Edison

  • Participants: Sam Ervin, Ojai Electric, Cassandra Bramucci

Water System Restored – April 2018: Burned components at well replaced, treatment filter upgraded, new pool cover added.

  • Participants: Sam Ervin, Ray Johnston, Buzz Glasky, Cassandra Bramucci, Hansen Well-Do Service

Off-site Storage Closed – April 26, 2018: Archival items moved to Meher Mount. Items given to Goodwill. Library is sorted. Extra books available for donations. Other materials available free for visitors.

  • Participants: Margaret Magnus, Sam Ervin, Cassandra Bramucci, Eric Turk

Insurance Claim – April 27, 2018: Submit second and last round of insurance claims.

  • Participants: Sam Ervin, Margaret Magnus, Cassandra Bramucci

Unveiling of the Benches – May 12, 2018: Open house to unveil benches made from Baba’s Tree.

Ray Johnston & April Buchwald in Residence – May 15-28, 2018: Former Manager/Caretaker Ray Johnston and his wife April Buchwald stay at Meher Mount to help with fire abatement.

  • Participants: Ray Johnston, April Buchwald, Margaret Magnus, Sam Ervin, Cassandra Bramucci

 MOWING THE MEADOW leading to Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. Kristina Somma and Board Member Robert Turnage stay at Meher Mount to help with fire recovery and to get ready for the June 1, 2018, fire inspection. (Photo: Cassandra Bramucci, April 2018)

MOWING THE MEADOW leading to Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. Kristina Somma and Board Member Robert Turnage stay at Meher Mount to help with fire recovery and to get ready for the June 1, 2018, fire inspection. (Photo: Cassandra Bramucci, April 2018)

Fire Prevention Weekend – May 19-20, 2018: Weekend culminates in 95% of fire abatement work needed. Attack invasive Spanish thistle and poison oak control. Clean and weed gardens.

Telephone Restored – May 2018: Phone service restored. Transfer phone number 805-640-0000 to mobile phone to receive calls and texts.

  • Participants: Cassandra Bramucci

 ASH KEEPSAKES from Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, May 2018)

ASH KEEPSAKES from Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, May 2018)

Ash Keepsakes – May 25, 2018: Ash from heart of Baba’s Tree was placed in keepsake vials, packaged and sent to all donors and volunteers for fiscal year 2017-2018.

Battle the Invasives & Poison Oak – May 2018-Ongoing: Fire makes the landscape particularly susceptible to the return of poison oak and the spread of invasive plants. Ongoing effort.

  • Participants: Eric Turk, Sam Ervin, Margaret Magnus, Jim Whitson, Homayar Gandhi, Kathy Najar

Kyle & Lisa Morrison in Residence – June 1-8, 2018: Kyle & Lisa Morrison stay at Meher Mount to help with recovery and re-opening of Meher Mount.

  • Participants: Kyle Morrison, Lisa Morrison

 TENTING the Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters at Meher Mount for termite fumigation. (Photo: Cassandra Bramucci, June 2018)

TENTING the Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters at Meher Mount for termite fumigation. (Photo: Cassandra Bramucci, June 2018)

Termite Fumigation – June 5-7, 2018: Discovery of dry rot and termites in outside trellis. to replacing Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters is tented for termites.

  • Participants: Sam Ervin, Cassandra Bramucci, Kyle Morrison, Lisa Morrison, Eveready Pest Control

Pass Fire Abatement Inspection - June 16, 2018: All the weeks of fire abatement work pay off. Ventura County Fire Department gives Meher Mount a thumbs up.

  • Participants: Cassandra Bramucci, Ray Johnston, Eric Turk, Robert Turnage, Kristina Somma, Jim Whedon, Sam Ervin, Margaret Magnus, Jim Whitson, Rudy Duran, Kathy Najar, Khushnam Crawford, Homayar Gandhi, Brad Spurr, Kyle Morrison, Lisa Morrison, Mike Tarpey, Eric Ashelman

Trellis Repair/Replacement – June 22, 2018: Initial replacement of wood at burned corner leads to replacing dry rot. New trellis shade covering added.

 REPAIRED AND IMPROVED SHADE TRELLIS for the Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters brought about by a minor burn from the Thomas Fire. Baba's Fireplace - the last remaining man-made artifact of Meher Baba's 1956 visit - is in the foreground. (Photo: Sam Ervin, June 25, 2018)

REPAIRED AND IMPROVED SHADE TRELLIS for the Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters brought about by a minor burn from the Thomas Fire. Baba's Fireplace - the last remaining man-made artifact of Meher Baba's 1956 visit - is in the foreground. (Photo: Sam Ervin, June 25, 2018)

Props for Baba’s Tree – June 26, 2018: All the props to support weak limbs of Baba’s Tree are installed. Watering continues.

  • Participants: Michael Inaba, Sam Ervin

Victory Declared - June 27, 2018: All major fire projects and tasks related to recovery and regeneration due to the December 4, 2017 Thomas Fire are completed - a total of 207 days. 

 CARE FOR BABA'S TREE at Meher Mount continues. Props to support weak limbs are installed. Limbs are wrapped for sunburn protection. Water is carefully given during dry periods. New branches continue to grow. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, June 26, 2018)

CARE FOR BABA'S TREE at Meher Mount continues. Props to support weak limbs are installed. Limbs are wrapped for sunburn protection. Water is carefully given during dry periods. New branches continue to grow. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, June 26, 2018)


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