Fire Hazard Exists below Temescal Canyon Continuation School

Dead and dried palm fronds need to be removed from the area below the high school.

The property immediately below the Palisades High School Continuation School, Temescal Academy, is the property of LAUSD. The land further south belongs to L.A. Rec and Parks.

Last week, Circling the News received word that Avalon Landscape had been hired to do the brush clearance for the City and a resident wrote: “They cut all the wetlands plants (not a fire hazard, by the way, sitting in water) and covered over the little stream and the wetland area with the chips from the cutter/blower. The little one-inch frogs were scampering trying to get away.”

The resident added that she was sad to see this natural haven destroyed.

Circling the News is familiar with the area. A small stream runs year-round from Temescal Canyon Gateway Park, under Palisades High School, then along the hillside, down toward the ocean.

CTN visited the area on Sunday and saw where the clearance had occurred. The stream was still running. Only a small portion of the overgrown brush was cleared. Following a trail into the LAUSD area that the resident described as an environmental area that should be treated like a preserve, there was evidence of an encampment.

Trash was scattered, and dead palm fronds were piled high in the area. Additionally, dead palm fronds were hanging from trees and in need of trimming.

LAUSD has most likely been cited by LAFD because this area does not follow clearance requirements for property located in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. (See the listing below.) Additionally, firewood is left on the sidewalk in this area, which falls under rule 12 of clearance requirements.

Brush clearance is needed.


Owners of property located in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) shall maintain their property in accordance with the Fire Code (L.A.M.C. 57.322). Year-round compliance shall be maintained as described below on all native brush, weeds, grass, trees and hazardous vegetation within 200 feet of any structures/buildings, whether those structures are on the owner’s property or adjoining properties, and within 10-feet of any combustible fence or roadway/driveway used for vehicular travel.

  1. Maintain all weeds and grasses at a maximum height of 3 inches.
    2.Maintain the lower 1/3rd of trees and shrubs by removing all leafy foliage, twigs, and branches up to a maximum of 6 feet from the ground (i.e., any tree 18 feet or higher requires only 6 feet of clearance). NOTE: This requirement does not apply to fruit trees, privacy hedges, and ornamental shrubbery (e.g., Italian cypress trees) provided they are well maintained and free of all dead and dry material. 
  2. Remove all dead trees and shrubs.
  3. Maintain 5 feet of vertical clearance between roof surfaces and portions of overhanging trees and shrubs (i.e., any overhanging foliage must be at least 5 feet above the roof).
  4. Remove any portion of a tree or shrub within 10-foot radius of a chimney outlet.
  5. Maintain the roofs of all structures free of leaves, needles, twigs and other combustible matter.
  6. Remove all dead/dry undergrowth and material within trees and shrubs to include all dead or dry palm fronds/branches.
  7. Once brush clearance is conducted, remove and safely dispose of all cut or bagged vegetation, all dead trees and all debris. This includes all combustible junk, trash or debris that may be on your property, regardless of how it got there. Combustible debris may include, but is not limited to, paper trash, cardboard boxes, household trash, fabric/clothing, plastic, rubber/tires, or piles of yard waste.
  8. Cut vegetation may be machine processed (chipped) and spread as ground cover (mulch) so it does not exceed 3 inches in depth within
    30 feet of structures and no more than 6 inches in depth 30+ feet from structures/buildings. Machine processed/chipped material shall not be placed within 10 feet of combustible fences or road surfaces.
  9. Trim Native shrubs/brush so foliage is removed from lower third up to a maximum of 6 feet.
  10. Maintain all other landscape vegetation, including, but not limited to, conifers (e.g., cedar, cypress, fir, juniper, and pine), eucalyptus, acacia, palm and pampas grass in such a condition as not to provide an available fuel supply to augment the spread or intensity of a fire or impede egress of emergency vehicles. This includes trimming up and removing all dead and dry material as required above.
  11. Firewood shall be located 30-feet away from any structure or shall be completely enclosed within a fire resistive closed container (L.A.M.C. Sec. 4906.3.3).
  12. Trim back vegetation and maintain 3-feet radius clearance around fire hydrants (L.A.M.C. Sec. 57.507.5).
  13. Vegetation/branches extending past curb and over the street shall be trimmed back to the curb line and up a minimum of 14 feet vertically from the roadway surface to the lowest overhanging branch to provide clearance for emergency vehicles (L.A.M.C. Sec. 57.503.1).

    The area below Palisades High School is in need of  cleaning up.

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