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Trees Removed at Topanga Community House to Improve Fire Safety
March 21, 2013 - By Beth Burnam
The North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council (NTCFSC) recently helped the Topanga Community Club (TCC) make its Community Survival Area safer.
PHOTOS COURTESY NTCFSC
The road leading to the Community House before the tree removal. Since the ball field has been designated a Community Survival Area, where Topangans might be asked to shelter in a wildfire, the removal of highly flammable vegetation helps to make it as safe as possible.
A presentation was made during the February general meeting of the TCC by by Assistant Chief Forester J. Lopez of the L.A. County Fire Department and Ryan Ulyate, Co-President of the NTCFSC.
After the presentation the TCC board voted to accept the NTCFSCs offer to assist with removal of some dense pines and eucalyptus on the driveway, (above, left) allowing safer access and evacuation in a fire emergency (above, right).
The NTCFSC will include this work in a larger project currently in progress to improve evacuation safety along Highway 27 / Topanga Canyon Blvd. This project is funded in part by the California Fire Safe Council and the USDA Forest Service.
TCC president Mark Nygard said Since the ball field has been designated a Community Survival Area, where Topangans might be asked to shelter in a wildfire, we needed to do all we could make it as safe as possible. The North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council agreed with us, and used funds from their grant to pay for the work. We also contracted directly with Gold Coast Tree Service to have some hazardous vegetation removed next to the Community House; this was done to make the structure more able to withstand a wildfire.
TCC after NTCFSC tree removal, a proactive step taken to mitigate the risk of damage from a wildfire.
The TCC is now replanting with native vegetation that is more appropriate for Topangas Mediterranean Ecosystem.
Ryan Ulyate added, "The work done at the TCC is a good example of the positive difference Topangans can make by educating themselves about wildfire behavior and taking proactive steps to mitigate the risk.
The key is not to blindly remove all vegetation, but to live more in harmony with our natural landscape; by taking intelligent actions that limit the threat from wildfire we can protect Topanga's beauty and enhance our safetytwo worthy goals.
For more information and to see videos of the four-part lecture series on how to lessen the impact of wildfire on homes, landscape and our community, visit ntcfsc.org.