Tassajara Zen Mountain Center -- the oldest Buddhist monastery outside Asia -- is reopening Saturday after weathering the massive Soberanes Fire that burned more than 132,000 acres, or about 206 square miles, in Monterey County near Big Sur.
The center evacuated its summer guests and closed its doors on July 31, nine days after the wildfire broke out from an illegal campfire in Garrapata State Park. The Los Padres National Forest and Central Coast Incident Management Team announced Wednesday that the fire was 100 percent contained.
"Everything was about the fire," said Tassajara's director, Linda Galijan. "We were waiting and watching to see how would the fire go. Would they be able to hold it when it ran? And they did."
Galijan said after the center evacuated about 75 guests it had at the time, the remaining staff and Zen students "went into full-on fire prep mode."
She said several retired Los Padres National Forest firefighters helped the staff with their training and preparations. They were also in close contact with Cal Fire, the United States Forest Service and various fire crews throughout the summer.