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How To Avoid Getting Towed During LA's Red Flag Parking Restrictions

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THIS STORY IS PART OF HOW TO L.A., OUR ONGOING SERIES OF PRACTICAL GUIDES FOR DAY-TO-DAY LIVING IN LOS ANGELES.


By Melissa Leu and Tim Loc

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Whenever Los Angeles is facing hot weather, strong winds and low humidity, you can bet there will be red flag parking restrictions.

But where exactly do these restrictions take place? And how do you know if you're in one?

It's pretty simple: just check for the sign.

If you see a sign with a tow truck on it and text that says no parking on red flag days, don't park there.

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The city is allowed to tow illegally parked cars in locations within "Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones," which is a fancy way of saying especially narrow streets that may be difficult to move traffic through if cars were parked on the street.

Essentially, authorities want to get rid of choke points that would make it hard for people to evacuate or fire trucks to get through during emergencies, according to LAFD's website.

Another way to check to see if your street falls under the restrictions: look up your address at neighborhoodinfo.lacity.org. Fill in your address, and check under "Red Flag Parking Zone." If it says yes, well then, you have your answer.

Another thing of note, the term "Red Flag" may be misleading because it's used by different agencies. Brian Humphrey, a spokesman with the Los Angeles Fire Department, told LAist last year that many people confuse the LAFD's Red Flag warning with those issued by the National Weather Service. To determine if an LAFD Fed Flag is in place, you can check lafd.org/redflag for the current status.

While the duration of each LAFD red flag lasts 24 hours, it may be renewed once that period is over, so you might want to check the website (or LAFD's Twitter) in the next couple days to see what's up.

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UPDATES:

Oct. 10, 2019, 3:36 p.m.: The introduction of this story was updated to remove outdated information about red parking restrictions from November 2018.

This article was originally published Nov. 11, 2018.