Ups & Downs

Flavia PotenzaBy Flavia Potenza      July 23, 2021

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Ups & Downs
PHOTO BY FLAVIA POTENZA This moonflower has been growing for years under the stop sign in front of my house. When it blooms it has the softest lemony fragrance. It’s a resilient plant that is constantly run over by visiting trucks and cars that park there. In fact, last spring it was completely gone and I thought it could never appear again. But here it is in full bloom every morning.
Since our last issue, we’ve had some excitement, some good, some not so much. For those who follow those things, space flight took off—Sir Richard Branson on July 13, with two pilots and a crew of three, followed by the Bezos brothers and a crew of two on July 20. Columnist Paula LaBrot shares her passion about space flight since 1981 when the Columbia space shuttle landed at Edwards Air Force base (Page 9). I’m grateful for television so I could claim my little piece of the excitement without leaving home. And, hey! One of the crew on New Shepard was Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk, an 82-year-old aviation pioneer. Dontcha just love it! Excitement in our back yard, so to speak, was less welcome and out of our control, e.g. two fires in and around Tuna Canyon within 10 days of each other. After the Tuna fire on July 9, on July 18, about 20 concerned residents of Tuna Canyon got together to develop an action plan to protect not just their homes but Topanga in general. The next day, July 20, the Flores Incident broke out around 3:30 p.m., between Tuna Canyon and Las Flores Road. Ground crews, air-dropped into the steep terrain, were soon supported by aerial helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft that dropped retardant and 30,000 gallons of water from Helistop 69 Bravo. It was contained at 15 acres around 8 p.m. and crews remained overnight. Senior Reporter Annemarie Donkin attended the meeting and followed the fires. (Page 5) Everyone—and I mean everyone—must attend the evacuation drill on August 12. The virtual live drill follows a realistic fire scenario that progresses, resulting in the evacuation of residents by zones. Do you know your zone? You must register to receive the Zoom link: EvacDrill. (Page 4) So... What do moonflowers have to do with all this? Maybe it’s simply a reminder to keep doing what you do and appreciate the tranquility of where you live (the upside), but with the caveat that you live in a Severe High Fire Danger Area and you need to be prepared for that kind of emergency (the downside). Knowing that, what —, must you do? Join your concerned neighbors on Tuna Canyon, sign on to their Letter of Concern, make an evacuation plan, take a CERT class, learn first aid, take HAM radio training, create or join a Neighborhood Network, become a volunteer. Most of all, get to know and care about your neighbors, because, when the bad thing happens and first responders are busy with the big things like a firestorm, you may need each other more than you know. Then stop and smell the roses...if the critters haven’t eaten them. Meanwhile, here’s another happy tip: the Perseid Meteor Shower is due to arrive in August with the peak August 12-13. Turn out the lights and enjoy the dark skies, Topanga. (Page 14) —Flavia Potenza
Flavia Potenza
      July 23, 2021

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