Wednesday, May 18, 2005

8.8 Billion Won from the Government to rebuild Naksan Temple

From the Times:

The government will spend around 8.8 billion
won ($8.8 million) to restore Naksan-sa Temple,
which was burnt down by last month’s forest
fires in Kangwon Province.

Culture and Tourism Minister Chung Dong-chea
yesterday reported at the weekly Cabinet meeting
that the collapsed temple buildings will be rebuilt
in two or three years.

The ministry allotted 8.7 billion won for the
reconstruction works and 0.1 billion won for the
remolding of the temple’s bronze bell, which was
melted during the blaze. ``The restoration of the
bell will take around six months,’’ the ministry’s
assistant minister Lee Bo-kyong told reporters.

All this is great news for the temple. I am not so thrilled by the suggested policies for fire prevention.

``We plan to allow the temples to deforest areas
within 20 or 30 meters from their compounds to
prevent a forest fire from spreading to
buildings,’’ Lee said.

The ministry also plans to plant trees that are
more fireproof and install or widen roads leading
to the temples to ease access by fire engines.

The wind on April 5 was wild and powerful. The power driving it is well-understood but not by me and I may confuse the details a little.

Basically, there is a wall of mountains just inland of the coast. Seorak is the most famous of these. Wind coming from the west falls down the east side and spreads out a little. At the base of the mountains, the air compacts again and the wind's strength is multiplied. This is, I think, the mechanism of 'hydraulic jump'.

This powerful wind, which I described here, made my apartment sing and wail and pushed me around as I cycled. I reported (same posting) that the fire had jumped great distances that day. A margin of 20-30m may help in the future, but would not have helped Naksan much.

I am all for planting trees that are more fireproof but not interested in deforesting the margins of the temple buildings. Call me a heretic, but I enjoy the forests as much as the temples when I visit them.

Also, I fear that improved roads would simply lead to bigger parking lots closer to the temples and Koreans have trouble driving without leaning on their horns. Call me a heretic but I enjoy the quiet as much as the temples when I visit them.

1 comment:

GI Korea said...

I agree with you, I don't like the fire break idea either. However, when I stopped by the temple last week I was amazed by the amount of reconstruction going on. Hopefully it will all be repaired by the end of the year.