The news can be overwhelming, but there is so much to be thankful for the Thanksgiving season. Here at TNT, we are especially grateful for our amazing readers, advertisers and contributors, who make every issue the best kind of adventure. We wish you all a happy, hopeful Thanksgiving. Thank you, dear reader, for being part of the TNT family! Cover design by Urs Baur
The Santa Monica Mountains went from extreme fire danger to the potential for floods in less than a week. Rain in the forecast was welcome news for everyone grappling with the threat of Public Safety Power Shutoff and the accompanying fire hazard-induced insomnia, but the first major rain of the season brings its own risks, including flooding and rockslides. Life here is beautiful but sometimes perilous.
Saddle Peak residents had a close call on November 9, when a wind-driven fire spread rapidly into brush, threatening homes. A house was destroyed at the location where the fire is thought to have ignited, but no one was injured and neighboring homes were saved by a quick response from Los Angeles County Firefighters, including almost immediate full firefighting support and aerial firefighting facilitated by the state-of-the-art helistop 69 Bravo. Fire crews were able to contain the blaze to just a few acres, despite strong Santa Ana winds. Without that immediate response, this fire could have potentially followed the path of the 1993 Old Topanga Canyon Fire to the sea, or raced up behind Fernwood and into the heart of Topanga Canyon.
TNT reader Geoff Sheldon, who lives near the house that was destroyed and whose home was directly threatened by the blaze, described the work done by county fire ground crews to stop the forward momentum of the blaze and extinguish embers that might have reignited.
“The ground crews were amazing. Like watching a caterpillar of their white head lamps moving around the mountain in the dark,” he wrote. “These guys were going up and down slopes our brush clearing crews would have had trouble with, but they did it with gear and got in to control the remaining [hot spots] and wind-blown ember flare ups.”
The incident was a reminder that we are all potentially at risk when fire danger is high. And if a run to the ocean seems unlikely, this fire took place on the fifth anniversary of the Woolsey fire, which took just hours to reach the beach after it jumped the 101 freeway.
We’ve written a lot about fire history and the importance of being prepared for fire and other disasters in this publication. Knowing our history and being able to use the lessons we learn from it to live safer lives is incredibly important to all of us at TNT. On December 6, at the Topanga Historical Society meeting, I will be sharing an overview of this area’s fire history together with longtime Topanga resident and local historian Scott King, who will be talking about his experiences in the 1993 wildfire. There will be an opportunity for everyone with a story to share or a question to ask to participate. Learning how to live with fire is essential for everyone who calls the Santa Monica Mountains home. Details on page 15.
For the first time in four years, El Niño is back. This weather phenomenon has the potential to bring heavy rainfall to Southern California and throughout the Southwest, but this weather pattern is unpredictable. The most we can do is batten the hatches and be ready for anything. To help residents get ready for what could be a wild and wet winter, Los Angeles County fire stations have sandbags available. Here’s to the hope that we get enough rain this week to temper the wildfire risk but not enough to trigger landslides. It would be nice to enter the holiday season without the threat of natural disaster looming over us.
With the holidays right around the corner, we are sharing our annual selection of new books by local authors and new books of local interest. If you, dear reader, are also a writer and we missed your new publication, please let us know: email@example.com Also in this issue, the TNT crew has come together to prepare some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes for our readers. They are a vibrant reminder of the different cultures and traditions that have come to enrich this uniquely American holiday.
Here at TNT, we give thanks for our amazing readers, advertisers, and contributors—everyone who makes Topanga New Times possible—and we wish all of you a safe, happy, joyful Thanksgiving.
Stay safe, be well.