Saturday Morning Topanga Incident Update

Saturday, October 01, 2005 |

UPDATE: To view an after-action report for the Topanpga Incident wildfire, please click here.

This information was approved for public release on 10/1/2005 at 0900 Hours and was considered correct at that time. The information presented is not meant to replace any formal information or updates presented to the public by the Incident Commanders through the Joint Information Center.


LOCATION: Initial Dispatch-W/Bound 118 Fwy x Topanga Canyon Bl.
BRUSH TYPE: Medium to Heavy Brush.

CONDITIONS ON ARRIVAL:Initial report – was 3 acres of light to moderate brush with 20-30 mph winds, gusts up to 50 mph.

CURRENT SIZE: 23,970 Acres.

CURRENT CONDITION: 40% Containment


STRUCTURES BURNED: 1 Single Family Dwelling Destroyed, 1 Single Family Dwelling Damaged, 1 Detached Garage Burned, 3 Out Buildings Burned, 1 Storage Building (at Rocketdyne) Burned.

REPORTED INJURIES: On Wednesday, one Los Angeles City Fire Captain was struck by a 40 lb. boulder. He was knocked unconscious for 5 minutes. Following an evaluation at Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, including a CAT scan, he has been released and is now resting at home. On Thursday, one Los Angeles City Fire Engineer sustained an ankle injury. He was transported to a local emergency room, evaluated and placed off duty. He is now recuperating at home. There have been additional reports Friday of non-life threatening injuries to as many as four Fire Service personnel from allied agencies. Specific information regarding said injuries and the identification of personnel must come directly from Incident Command Staff.

COMMAND: "Unified Command" for the Topanga Incident consists of Los Angeles City Fire ("LAFD"), Los Angeles County Fire, Ventura County Fire, California Department of Forestry, and the National Park Service.

COMMAND POST LOCATION: Conejo Creek Park South, 1379 East Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362.

AIR OPERATIONS: 6 Fixed Wing Aircraft, 4 Heavy Lift Helo, 5 Type II Helo; 2 Type III Helo.


UNSUAL CONDITIONS: Inaccessible Steep Terrain, High Winds, Low Humidity, Erratic Fire Behavior, Structures Threatened in Urban/Wildland Interface Zone. Fire Threatens Numerous Communities.



CANCELLED EVACUATION ORDERS (Allowed to Return with ID): Reyes Adobe, Lindero Canyon, Agoura Hills, Kanan Road, Oak Park, City of Hidden Hills, Box Canyon, Bell Canyon, Woolsey Canyon, Santa Susana Knolls, Mount Calabasas, Lake Manor.

EVACUATION SHELTERS: All Shelters Closed on 10/1/2005 at 0700.

ROAD CLOSURES: All roads are open. Please use caution due to fire traffic in the area.


EVACUATION OF LARGE ANIMALS (HORSES, CATTLE, ETC): Pierce College (full); Hansen Dam Equestrian Center; West Valley Animal Care and Control Center; Burbank Equestrian Center (Horses Only); Ventura County Fairgrounds.

EVACUATION OF SMALLER ANIMALS: For Any Ventura County Resident, Camarillo Airport Animal Care and Control; Residents of Thousand Oaks that can provide proof of residency, Los Angeles County Animal Shelter in Agoura Hills; Animal Control Staff is available at the Thousand Oaks Community Center for transportation of animals to Camarillo or Simi Valley shelter (animals may be held for up to two weeks).

CAUSE OF FIRE: Under Investigation at this time.


LAFD Chief Varela stated on 10/01/05 at 0740 Hrs that the Topanga Incident is in the mop-up stage. 4 LA City Strike Teams and support staff will remain, all other LAFD resources will be released this morning.

- 75 Fire Companies
- 14 Command Teams
- 6 Rescue Ambulances
- 1 Incident Management Team supervising 2 Branches

LAFD resources are skirting the border between The City of Los Angeles, LA County, and Ventura County in the Western edge of the San Fernando Valley.

Los Angeles Fire Department resources primary responsibility has been to provide for structure protection along the east flank of the fire. Firefighters operated in the Box Canyon, Bell Canyon, Woolsey Canyon, Hidden Hills, Lake Manor, and West Hills areas.

On Thursday, September 29, 2005 LAFD Firefighters were confronted with a shift in the prevailing winds between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Firefighters were challenged by wind driven flame fronts and flying embers. Firefighters took a defensive stance to protect structures and were successful at defending those structures.

On Friday, September 30, 2005 LAFD Firefighters will continue to provide structure protection groups along the east flank of the fire. Firefighters will be providing handlines to support camp crews in the establishment of scratch line around the fire

On Saturday, October 01, 2005 LAFD resources are expected to be reduced to 4 LAFD Strike Teams and support staff.

Some personnel were reassigned to the Castaway Fire in Burbank at the request of the Incident Commander.

We remind residents in the immediate path of local wildfires to be guided by and follow the lawful orders of uniformed public safety officials.

Such information - which is often specific to a location or address, may be provided door-to-door or via loudspeaker by law enforcement or fire department vehicles. Residents in high danger areas should remain particularly vigilant for such direct, personal and focused contact.

Those who may become endangered but are not in the immediate path of advancing flames, are encouraged to stay tuned to local news radio.

In the greater Los Angeles area, official information provided by or on behalf of public safety agencies is often carried on the following news radio stations:

AM 980 - KFWB
AM 1070 - KNX

We encourage Los Angeles residents to find and "save" these stations on their battery-powered portable and vehicle radios.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


ftgfire said...

good work on getting it under control so fast! Also good work on all the info in the blog much more detailed than the CDF reports. Question Any idea how hot the fire got? (what temprature did it reach at it's peak)???

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Thank you for your kind words.

Our success was truly a matter of teamwork among Firefighters from throughout California, as well as a partnership with property and homeowners who took heed of brush clearance regulations.

The fire - more appropriately defined as a conflagration - burned at a variety of intensities as it covered more than 24,000 acres of diverse vegetation, as well as damaging or consuming some structures and vehicles.

The Los Angeles Fire Department did not attempt to measure the specific heat created by any particular product or substance in any given region of this massive blaze. The thermal energy created by the fire, in areas large and small, would by any reasonable definition be considered immense.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

Anonymous said...

Anyway to find out which non-local agencies assisted in battling the fire? They all deserve a lot of thanks from the residents!

Alan Barkwill
Simi Valley

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Mr. Barkwill:

There is a highly detailed accountability system for every agency and resource assigned to the fire.

The list is by no means complete at this time though, due to the fact that some agencies continue to arrive directly for crew relief or be rotated from other incidents in the region.

I can say from my two days at the Command Post, that many crews drove hundreds of miles through the night to face a days long onslaught against the fire.

If and when a digital list of the hundreds of responders becomes available to our agency, we will be pleased to post it here in the LAFD News & Information web blog.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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