2023-2024 Retreat

December 29, 2023 ~ January 6, 2024

What a way to ring in the new year: 

Surrounded by  the Los Padres National forest, supported by the San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara community.  Pause and take a breath, together with wildland firefighters from all areas, and with all levels of experience.  This retreat is led by experienced teachers of mindfulness and meditation in conjunction with wildland firefighter retreat leaders.  

What is the Wildland Firefighter Retreat?

The San Francisco Zen Center is offering this mindfulness-based retreat for Wildland Firefighters as a way to give back to these communities and to support our first responders. This 9-day retreat is intended to help provide refuge, rest and renewal as well as trauma-sensitive training in mindfulness, meditation and Sensory Awareness. 

There will be a day of work to help to care for Tassajara and to integrate mindfulness practice into fire prevention and working on the land. 

The retreat will have ample time to bathe in the hot springs, walk the wilderness trails (as weather permits), be nourished with home cooked meals, and relax in the quiet of this ancient valley. 

And we will have the unique opportunity of seeing in the New Year together around a huge bonfire in this sacred valley. 

There will also be 3 follow-up monthly Zoom calls in small groups after the retreat.

What Previous Participants Say: 

"As a career wildland firefighter with over 20 years of experience this retreat was extremely valuable and I only wish something like this was available for me earlier in my career. I'm excited to know that this group of practitioners and facilitators will be part of the future wildland fire community and is committed to helping our workforce heal and grow."

"This is the experience so many of us have needed for so long, whether we knew it or not."

"It is the most meaningful thing that fire has led me to. It has helped me recover from the toll that life experiences and working fire has had on me. This experience has helped me to feel balanced and whole. I would highly recommend this retreat."

"Going to the Zen Center was a life-changing experience for me. I really appreciated being surrounded by like-minded firefighters who truly understand the struggles we each face, both on and off of the line. I found people I could empathize with, I found healing, and I found practices I can use in everyday life to benefit my mental health."

"What an amazing experience to be a part of. This place and these people are exactly what I needed."

"This retreat is incredibly important and unlike any experiene I have ever had. Learning to take care of ourselves and others in fire in this way is the change that is desperately needed."

"This was possibly the most impactful weeklong event I have been to in my 20 years as an adult. The intentionality of the week and the facilitators, combined with a sacred setting, hot springs, and an incredible group of participants and facilitators made the learning and growth more meaningful than I ever could have expected. This was truly a special invitation, and one that I am so grateful to have been able to accept!"

"It was really a life changing experience for me and I feel like i have made life-long friends through this."


How much does it cost? The retreat is free of charge to wildland firefighter participants.  You need only get here.  

What do I need to bring?  Tassajara is a remote location.  In wintertime, it can be cold, and the accommodations can be rustic.  We will supply a list of recommended things to bring when you register. 
What happens after I apply?  There will be spots for previous and new participants.  These are available first come, first served, with a wait list if the retreat fills.  You'll be contacted by one of the facilitators to schedule an interview so we can have a chance to get to know you. 

Who can I contact if I have additional questions? Please contact Lee Lesser with questions: 415-307-6043 leelesser@gmail.com

Application to Attend

Please fill out an application HERE.

Wildlan Firefighter Retreat Flyer 2024 .pdf

Get the Word Out

Download the pdf and share with your colleagues.