In our March 8, 2019, article about the Woolsey Fire listening session on March 3 (“Topangans Speak Out at Fire Listening Session”), we quoted Mary Colvig Rhodes, who was among the residents asking about brush clearance in the creeks, citing the extreme fire threat it represents. Colvig let us know she was misquoted and sent us a clarification, for which we are grateful and want to pass the information and her astute observations regarding notification and brush clearing on to our readers:
“First point: I seconded everything Scott Ferguson said regarding communication. My evacuation alert came from my daughter who lives in Mill Valley, California, and was monitoring the TCEP website. She telephoned Friday, November 9, around noon to say, ‘Why are you home? You are under mandatory evacuation.’ I never received an evacuation call on my copper landline. Kudos to TCEP. This Topanga kid remembered you and your message.
“Second point: Brush—Moving forward every spring the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner sends a letter to unimproved property owners giving them the brush clearance deadline. There is a return postcard with the letter asking the owner if they will be clearing their brush. If not, the county will clear the brush and assess the owner. Is the county following up with the response they receive? I think not. If you drive along Old Topanga Canyon Road from the Post Office to Mulholland there are dead trees and brush that have not been cleared for several years on unimproved property and in the creek. This needs to be taken care of.
“Third point: Countless Topanga volunteer hours, and I’m estimating thousands of dollars, have been spent by the County on the Topanga Disaster Survival Guide. None of the guidelines were followed.”
The Editor responds: Thank you, Mary, and here’s a photo to prove the importance of keeping the creeks clear of debris. This is a portion of the creek that runs along Valley Road that connects to Old Topanga Canyon Road. While we don’t expect heavy rains for the rest of the season, this is an example of a flood in the making unless it’s cleared.