Famed California hot springs retreat destroyed by Valley fire

Posted Sep 15, 2015 by Nathan Salant
The New Age church that owns and operates Northern California's famed Harbin Hot Springs resort is promising to rebuild after Saturday's devastating wildfire that completely destroyed the historic retreat.
Burned-out remains of Harbin Hot Springs in California  pictured on September 14  2015
Burned-out remains of Harbin Hot Springs in California, pictured on September 14, 2015
Josh Edelson, AFP
Damage at the Heart Consciousness Church resort became evident at first light Sunday, but the extent of damage to nearby Lake County communities of Middletown, Cobb and Whispering Pines, where as many as 1,000 homes were burned or burning Sunday, may not be known for some time.
The fire has grown to 70,000 acres and was only 10 percent contained on Sunday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
One Middletown resident is reported dead and many others are missing.
Residents of most southern Lake County towns have been evacuated with many taking shelter at evacuation centers in Kelseyville, Calistoga and Highland.
In statement Sunday, the Harbin Hot Springs website said the resort was closed indefinitely and asked supporters to stay away while operators were making plans to rebuild and reopen.
All visitors and residents of the clothing-optional facility evacuated on Saturday, the statement said.
"There has been an incredible outpouring of support for our community, and generous offers to help us rebuild," the statement said.
Videos posted on offered some views of the damage to the Harbin resort, at which every building was destroyed or heavily damaged.
The mountain spring-fed communal soaking pools were black with sludge and ash, although the water still seemed to be flowing in the natural springs, and covered by burned tree limbs and broken or melted roof tiles.
The Valley fire also destroyed Hoberg's Resort & Spa up the road in Cobb, the newspaper said.