Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Update on Castro Adobe and the Trabing Fire-June 24, 2008

I finally made my way out to the Castro Adobe today to see the damage from the Trabing Fire. I must say that driving into the intersection of Larkin Valley Road and Buena Vista Road was heart wrenching...seeing all the burned trees and dark pastures combined with the smell of smoke was difficult.

As I got to the intersection of Old Adobe Road it was wonderful to see the tributes and thanks to the firefighters. Thank you firefighters!

Thankfully, most of Old Adobe Road was not damaged. Some of the homes on the west side of the street had fire reach to their decks, but the houses were intact. As we know, other houses on Larkin Valley Road and Trabing Road were not as lucky.
At the Castro Adobe, there was evidence of at least three spot fires. One which burned a small wood shed covering a pump, one at the entrance to Joe Kimbro's property, and one spot fire which burned a pallet of the adobe bricks and melted the plastic on another.

It was obvious that we were VERY lucky. The Direct Construction Unit (DCU) crew and the CCC crew had cut down a lot of the grass, keeping it short, so the fire really had no fuel to burn. Chris Barraza (DCU foreman) said that a neighbor had put out the three spot fires and they never spread to other areas on the property. Thank you neighbor!!!

Chris Barraza had left for the weekend on Friday to his home 5 hours away. Once hearing of the fire he promptly packed his things back up and made the trek back up to the Castro Adobe on Saturday. He was not going to sit by while a fire (potentially) burned the Castro Adobe! Somehow he talked his way up Old Adobe Road and onto the property and proceeded to protect the building, help neighbors, and even gave water to the neighbor's thirsty goats. Thank you Chris!

Watching the fire unfold was terrifying and if there is one thing that Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, DCU crew and State Parks has learned --it is that we are all very dedicated to this building! That was evident from all the frantic phone calls, e-mails, etc. As we launch into the 'Save the Castro Adobe' campaign this summer, this fire so clearly illustrates the importance of saving the Castro Adobe. Not only is it an incredible historic resource today but the thought of its destruction mobilized so many people, proving how vital it is to our future.

And now the work continues! Chris and the DCU crew are working on crack repair in the cocina wall. Next week, the construction on the cocina roof is slated to begin.-JK

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