Topanga Canyon is now officially recognized as a “Firewise” community by the National Fire Protection Association (“NFPA”) and CalFire, which means that Topangans have taken a quantifiable number of actions on their property and within the community to make their homes and the wider landscape more resistant to wildfires and the damage they cause. This recognition entitles those of us within the recognized Firewise area to a discount on certain insurance plans as long as the community continues to meet its Firewise obligations and remains “in good standing.” This designation invokes a sense of community responsibility and requires sustained action by residents at both the individual and collective level.
“This didn’t happen overnight,” says Beth Burnam and Ryan Ulyate, Co-Presidents of the Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council (TCFSC). “It took us 12 years to get up to this point. The insurance discount is huge, but it needs to be tied to an understanding of how much work we’ve done in Topanga, and how much more needs to be done.”
While homeowners who have certain insurance plans will benefit from the lower rates, residents need to take action to keep the Firewise designation and discount going. To remain “in good standing” with this program, communities must meet a set of voluntary criteria on an annual basis. Residents are encouraged to submit an annual list of their wildfire mitigation activities, actions and expenses on a simple Firewise Submission form, which will soon be accessible on One Topanga (www.onetopanga.com). The goal is to have the equivalent of one volunteer hour (valued at roughly $30) per residential dwelling unit.To learn more about the Firewise USA program and what it takes for a community to qualify, visit https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Firewise-USA.