January 23, 2022

Town Council Kicks Off Red Flag Awareness Campaign


The Topanga Town Council kicked off its Red Flag Awareness Campaign just in time for the Fourth of July with a series of signs posted at both ends of Topanga Canyon Boulevard. The signs, set out in sequence reminiscent of the Burma Shave ads of yore, warn of the high fire danger while, at the same time, welcoming visitors to the Canyon. Although the final sign bears a "Fourth of July" greeting, that portion is removable and most of the remaining signs, cautioning against hazards such as cigarette butts and open flames, are equally applicable throughout the fire season.

"Since most of us are old enough to remember the Burma Shave road signs, we thought it would be a clever way to reach all the traffic on Topanga Canyon Boulevard," says Stacy Sledge, the Town Council's community liaison. "We've been actively pursuing a Red Flag Alert campaign this year. Since we've been in red flag warnings for most of this year, we thought posting signs along the Boulevard would help, especially during the Fourth of July holiday."

Kids and adults alike seem far more taken by the serial signage - eagerly waiting for each new sign to pop up, then reading it aloud - than they might be had the Council chosen to erect a single sign bearing all the same warning messages. In fact, says Sledge, the signs are so popular someone has already stolen the "Heart Topanga" sign from one end of the Boulevard.

The Council is also beginning a new banner campaign in the heart of "downtown" Topanga using the flag poles outside the Topanga Creek General Store. "We will be putting up red flags during the designated red flag days," says Sledge. Council members will get the heads up through e-mails from Maria Grycan of the Los Angeles County Fire Department alerting the Council to Red Flag Days that specifically affect the Santa Monica Mountains. The Council will then post the red flags on the poles outside the General Store for residents and commuters to see.

Sledge says the Council also plans to rent out the flag poles to local businesses and nonprofits seeking to promote their events. "A portion of the flag pole proceeds will go directly to Topanga Elementary as a gift from the Town Council and those that rent them," says Sledge. The price structure for pole rentals is still in the works, but Sledge says the Council already has its first client - the County of Los Angeles will have banners up by July 25, using the poles to promote the Beach Bus.

Sledge says other Red Flag Alert Campaign projects include possible electronic signs at each end of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and educational programs to encourage residents to be prepared for disasters. The Council has also been active in helping produce the Topanga Survival Guide and its recently- published supplement. The Town Council also expects to have its new website, www.topangatowncouncil.org, "live" by the end of July, complete with a link to topangasurvival.org.