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Wildfire Drill To Force Topanga Residents To Evacuate Homes; First Time Ever

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(credit: Jamie Rector/Getty Images)

(credit: Jamie Rector/Getty Images)

(CBS) Ron Kilgore
Ron Kilgore is a 36-year broadcast veteran in radio and televi...
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TOPANGA (CBS) — A massive multi-agency wildfire drill set for this Saturday will call upon residents in Topanga Canyon to evacuate their homes.

KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports county officials are hoping the exercise will highlight the canyon’s various transportation challenges.

The drill is expected to test residents’ response to an emergency in a neighborhood that has only one major roadway by asking them to actually vacate the canyon.

“Let’s see if we can evacuate that community and simulate a fire that is impinging on that community and we need to protect people by evacuation,” said Anthony Whittle, Assistant Fire Chief for the Los Angeles County Fire Department and incident commander for the exercise.

Residents will be asked to drive out to either the Red Cross Evacuation Centers at Taft or Palisades High Schools during the drill, with updates expected to come through ALERT-LA phone lines or by subscribing to the emergency notification service by text messaging the word “EVACUATION” to 888777.

The mock scenario will simulate a fast-moving fire blocking the canyon’s north end — a scenario that Whittle said could potentially be a threat to communities beyond Topanga Canyon.

“The wind-driven fire based on that 2-to-6-hour window can go all the way from the 101 corridor all the way to the ocean,” he noted.

The exercise is scheduled from April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents will be able to hear “evacuation” updates throughout the day on KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO.

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