The nuns community has returned safely to the monastery. Dhammasara monastery is opened daily from 10am – 1pm.
During the bushfire season between November and April visitors are encouraged to check the fire safety warnings for Gidgegannup area and please stay home if the risk is Extreme. https://www.emergency.wa.gov.au/
Dhammasara Community evacuated on 1st Day of COVID Lock Down
On Monday, 1st February 2021 at around 12:00pm there was a fire incident at Wooroloo, approximately 15 kilometres away from Dhammasara. The incident then turned into an Emergency Warning for the surrounding areas.
Our fire team were promptly alerted by the warning from the Emergency WA website, so the nuns got our evacuation kit ready. The wind was blowing towards us, but there was no warning to evacuate issued for our property at this point. However, our vehicles were already lined up and ready to go.
While Ajahn Hasapanna was in the office monitoring the situation, the nuns attended our scheduled Vinaya class in the Meditation hall. At break time, around 3.40pm, a thick plume of smoke was seen from Dhammasara.
As the fire had jumped across Toodyay Road, it was now located about 2kms East of us. The wind was forecast to be blowing from the East for the rest of the day. Ajahn Hasapanna and our Fire Warden made the decision for the community to evacuate immediately.
Having done multiple fire drills before, the Nuns community sprang into action. Everyone gathered at our Muster Point. All the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment was put on, gas tanks were turned off and remaining shutters were closed. The fire team started allocating the drivers with passengers, UHF radios were distributed, also a first-aid kit, chain saw and containers of water were loaded into the vehicles.
Everyone stayed very calm, supportive and co-operative. Everyone listened well, and quickly responded to the instructions.
By 4:00pm, we had left the property. The Dhammasara Closed sign was displayed on the gate.
We made our way towards the city, with the huge cloud of smoke behind us.
We arrived at Dhammaloka Centre to take shelter in the Nuns Cottage. We found out that the fire had become very large and we would not be able to return to the monastery that day. Some nuns went to their relatives and family’s houses temporarily, Ajahn Hasapanna and 2 nuns stayed on at Dhammaloka, and the others stayed at Jhana Grove.
During this time, we received many calls from supporters reaching out with offers of food, medicines and supplies.
We were very touched by every single act of kindness, even getting concerned calls and emails from unexpected people, including tradespeople who had previously done work at Dhammasara.
The fire came quite close to our property (about 400m from the boundary) and you could tell the wind had changed direction, blowing the fire in another direction. Thankfully Dhammasara was untouched by the fire. There were a few days of electricity outage while we were away, which meant we had to clean out our fridges, but that was an easy task.
By the end of an uncertain week, the fire had been downgraded at our property, so we returned safely to Dhammasara on Sunday afternoon, 7th February 2021. We are very happy and grateful to be back here in this spectacular practice environment. We all feel really blessed by the wonderful kindness and care we received from everyone. Our Dhammasara community is well and happy; we hope and wish the same for you all.