Announcements


The Lesson of How One California Home Survived Last Year's Historic Wildfires

posted Jun 7, 2018, 3:38 PM by Bill Naylor   [ updated Jun 8, 2018, 4:20 PM ]

If you are planning to remodel or build a new home, check out this article on a home that survived the Thomas Fire at: http://time.com/5276699/the-lesson-of-how-one-california-home-survived-last-years-historic-wildfires/?utm_source=time.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=social-button-sharing.

Native Plant Sale/ Fire-wise Gardening - March 23-25 2018

posted Mar 13, 2018, 2:30 PM by Bill Naylor


Learn about the benefits of planting native and the best gardening choices for specific landscapes at Mountains Restoration Trust Native Plant Sale. Experts will be offering planting tips and discussing how drought-resistant native plant landscaping can also protect your home in a wildfire. Take-home literature and resources.  March 23 – 25, 2018, 8 am to 5pm, at the scenic, 22-acre historic Golden Heart Ranch, 3190 Triunfo Canyon Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301. For more information, visit www.mountainstrust.org or call (818) 591-1701. MRT is a non profit organization that preserves, protects, and enhances the natural resources of the Santa Monica Mountains.

You Can Make Your Home Less Vulnerable To Wildfire!- Topanga Library Presentation on Dec 4th 2017

posted Nov 20, 2017, 12:19 PM by Ryan Ulyate   [ updated Dec 4, 2017, 10:36 PM ]

The Los Angeles County Fire Department estimates that embers cause the ignition of at least 50% homes that burn in wildfires. As the recent fires in Northern California have shown, embers, carried by strong winds, fly through the air and rain down on vulnerable homes. Once homes ignite they create intense heat and more embers that then ignite other nearby homes. This turns what would be a fast-moving wildfire into an inferno, putting neighborhoods at risk and making it dangerous for vital first-responders to enter the area. By taking action long before a wildfire threatens, homeowners can address vulnerabilities. In this hour-long presentation Beth Burnam and Ryan Ulyate, Co-Presidents of the North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council will show video clips featuring Stephen Quarles from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. Shot in Topanga, the video demonstrates simple steps to reduce the risk from embers.

In addition, members of the NTCFSC Home Ignition Zone Evaluation team will be present to answer questions and share what they have learned from looking at over 100 Topanga homes.

With an abundance of dry vegetation and wildfire season upon us, it’s all the more important for Topangans, and all residents in the Santa Monica Mountains to take proactive steps that will make their home, neighborhoods, and communities safer.

We hope to see you there!

Monday December 4th at 6:30 PM

Topanga Library | County Of Los Angeles Public Library

122 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.

Topanga CA 90290

October 9th 2017: Wildfires in Northern California Kill at Least 10 and Destroy 1,500 Buildings

posted Oct 9, 2017, 2:22 PM by Ryan Ulyate   [ updated Mar 5, 2018, 4:26 PM by North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council ]

From the New York Times "SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Fast-moving wildfires raged across several counties in Northern California on Monday, killing at least one person, forcing the evacuation of up to 20,000 people and destroying hundreds of buildings, the authorities said.Firefighters were battling blazes in eight counties — Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Yuba, Nevada, Calaveras and Butte — officials said. Janet Upton, a deputy director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said that at least 15 fires had destroyed an estimated 1,500 residential and commercial structures and had burned over 73,000 acres since late Sunday night. The damage toll was expected to increase".


A house on fire in Glen Ellen, Calif., on Monday. CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times 
Here's a picture from the fire. Notice how the trees are not burning but the house is. Look at the fire in the ground leading to to the fence and the garage. There is a good chance that this home was set on fire by embers ignitng flammable leaves and vegetation next to the house. Not through a "wall of flames" coming from the trees. We can take action long before a fire threatens to reduce this threat. Now is the time to make our homes less vulnerable to wildfire! Learn how to "Harden" your home Ask for a Home Ignition Zone evaluation

June 2017 NFPA Journal: How can we better protect homes and other structures against wildfire?

posted Jun 7, 2017, 1:50 PM by Ryan Ulyate

An informative article from the June 2017 Newsletter of the National Fire Protection Association.  Here's a key paragraph about the 2016 Fort McMurray fire in Western Canada :

 "...A few months after the fire, Alan Westhaver, a wildfire behavior analyst, published a report for the Toronto-based Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction that reinforced the importance of wildfire prevention and preparedness efforts...

...Westhaver’s report, “Why Some Homes Survived: Learning from the Fort McMurray Wildfire Disaster,” concluded that structure loss in the fire was not random, but instead dependent on homes’ wildfire preparedness as established by guidelines put forth by FireSmart, a Canadian wildfire preparedness program similar to NFPA’s Firewise. According to the report, 81 percent of homes that survived the fire had a FireSmart hazard rating of low to moderate, meaning they were well-prepared for a wildfire, and all of the homes that survived despite extreme exposure to the fire had a low hazard rating. Conversely, most of the homes that were destroyed in the fire had high to extreme FireSmart hazard ratings."

August 2016: NPR: In Wildfires, Big Flames Attract Attention, But Watch Out For The Embers

posted Sep 16, 2016, 3:52 PM by Ryan Ulyate

From NPR's "All Things Considered", August 22nd 2016: "When a fast-moving, erratic wildfire ignites, firefighters right away try to save homes and steer the flames away from life and property. But experts say the real danger often occurs in the hours after the big wall of flames rips through..."

In Topanga the threat is also from embers that fly through the wind before flames arrive. In any case, this is a very good story and points out what we have been talking about regarding the ember threat, and how we can take steps to make our homes less vulnerable. 

Why Prescribed Burns Are A Bad Idea for The Santa Monica Mountains

posted Jun 24, 2016, 4:05 PM by North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council   [ updated Mar 7, 2018, 11:00 AM by Bill Naylor ]

From The National Park Service:

In the last forty years fire managers have promoted the idea that prescribed fire is necessary to protect ecosystems and communities by restoring fire's natural role in the environment to thin forest stands and to reduce hazardous fuels. This is true for western forests where the natural fire regime was frequent, low intensity surface fires started by lightning, and for many other ecosystems like southern longleaf pine forests, Florida palmetto scrub, and the Great Plains tall grass prairies. However, it is not true for the shrubland dominated ecosystems of southern California and the Santa Monica Mountains

2016 Old Fire: Luckily the winds calmed down and Topanga was spared.

posted Jun 9, 2016, 6:12 PM by North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council

Many of us in the North of Topanga were evacuated on June 4th due to the Old Fire. This video clip from the Los Angeles County Fire Department Facebook page explains how dangerous embers can be in spreading a fire in high winds. Luckily the winds died down and the firefighters were able to contain the fire before it entered north Topanga Canyon (which is where it was headed). This shows how important it is to harden your home against embers well in advance of a fire emergency. You might have to evacuate at a moments notice, and by hardening your home you increase the chances there will be something to return to after the fire!

NTCFSC to Speak at the National Fire Protection Association Conference in Las Vegas, June 15 2016

posted May 4, 2016, 12:52 PM by North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council

We're honored to be invited to speak to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) at their 2016 Conference and Expo. One of the things that makes the Home Ignition Zone Evaluation Program unique is that is a resident-based program where trained volunteers from the community have conversations with their neighbors about making their homes and neighborhoods less vulnerable to a wind driven fire. The NFPA, an organization of professionals, is interested in how our citizen-based program works and how it can be replicated in other at-risk communities.


Wed, Jun 15, 2016 - 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM

W09 - Making Homes Less Vulnerable to Wildfire Through Home Ignition Zone Evaluation


Speaker: Ryan Ulyate, North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council

Speaker: Beth Burnam, North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council

Track: Wildland Fire

Location: Lagoon J

NFPA Section Sponsor: Wildland Fire Management Section


Description

Embers cause the ignition of over 50% of the homes that burn in wildfires. Carried by strong winds, they ignite vulnerable homes, well in advance of the flames. A fast moving wildfire can turn into an urban fire inferno. Long before a wildfire threatens, homeowners can take action to make their homes safer. The presenters will explain what the ember threat is and the Home Ignition Zone Evaluation program, which works by using trained volunteers to visit homes and make specific recommendations to homeowners.

You Can Make Your Home Less Vulnerable To Wildfire! Presentation at Topanga Library June 8th 6:30 pm

posted May 4, 2016, 10:39 AM by North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council   [ updated Jun 9, 2016, 5:58 PM ]

You Can Make Your Home Less Vulnerable To Wildfire!

 The North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council will present its Home Ignition Zone Evaluation program at the Topanga Library on Wednesday June 8th at 6:30 pm

 The Los Angeles County Fire Department estimates that embers cause the ignition of at least 50% of the homes that burn in wildfires. Carried by strong winds, embers fly through the air and rain down on vulnerable homes, well in advance of flames. Once homes ignite they create intense heat and more embers that then ignite other nearby homes. This turns what would be a fast-moving wildfire into an urban fire – an inferno, putting neighborhoods at risk, as well as making it dangerous for vital first-responders to enter the area.

 By taking action long before a wildfire threatens, homeowners can make their homes safer by looking from the "house out" and addressing vulnerabilities. In this hour-long presentation North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council Co-Presidents Beth Burnam and Ryan Ulyate explain what the ember threat is and how the Home Ignition Zone Evaluation program works by using trained volunteers to visit homes and make specific recommendations to homeowners.

 Members of the Evaluation team will be present to answer questions and share what they have learned in the over 80 Topanga homes evaluated so far.  

 With the current drought and wildfire season arriving months earlier than normal, its all the more important for Topangans to take proactive steps that will make their home, neighborhoods, and the entire community safer.

 We hope to see you there!

 (Please RSVP for the June 8th presentation at firesafe@ntcfsc.org )

------

June 9th 2016

Thanks for everyone that attended! We'll do another one this fall. In the mean time for more information,  the safer homes part 2 video is a good place to start. If you are interested you can request a Home Ignition Zone Evaluation as well. We also have more information about home hardening and the threat from embers on this page


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