Most Evacuation Orders Lifted in Burn Areas
A Los Angeles County public works crew scoops up mud and debris flowing down on Earnslow Drive in La Cañada Flintridge. (Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times / January 19, 2010)
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As of 5:00 p.m. Friday, many evacuation orders were lifted, including all orders in Glendale and the Sunland-Tujunga area, Acton. The city of Los Angeles has cleared evacuation orders for all of La Crescenta and La Canada-Flintridge, with the exception of one property in Haskell and several homes in the Paradise Valley area. Residents of Acton are also being allowed to return home, with the exception of those on Heffner Road which has a washed-out roadway.
The addresses of homes that can safely be re-occupied will be listed on a Los Angeles County Web site, dpwcare.org, according to county officials.
Although the main band of this week's fourth storm has left the region, more showers were expected in the Southland and officials warned the threat of mudslides is not over.
Nearly 2,000 homes had been ordered evacuated during the week, though not everyone complied with the order.
Los Angeles County sheriff's Chief Neil Tyler warned that lines of thunderstorms continued to pose threats so some areas would remain under evacuation orders.
A week of rain saturated areas burned bare by last year's 250-square-mile wildfire in the steep San Gabriel Mountains, putting homes at risk in a string of foothill communities northeast of Los Angeles as flood-control debris basins neared capacity.
The National Weather Service canceled regional flash flood warnings but stressed scattered thunderstorms could produce inch-an-hour downpours through this evening.
The forecast calls for a dry weekend.
So far, officials say, an extensive flood-control system is working, however, many debris basins are full from runoff.
KTLA spotted a small mudslide along a cul-de-sac on Ocean View Blvd. in La Canada, however, there was no visible damage to homes in the area. It's believed the slide occurred around 2 a.m. Friday.
Flash flood watches are still in effect and no major damage has been reported in the burn areas. Officials say many debris basins are full but so far, the extensive flood-control system is working.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies began going door-to-door around 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, advising residents in affected areas to leave.
City officials stressed that residents who are told to leave should do so.
"Let me be very clear," Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said. "If a Los Angeles police officer comes to your door and tells you to leave, that you're being evacuated, leave. We're not doing it because we think your lawn is going to get dirty. We're not doing it because your carpet's going to get wet. We're doing it because your life is at risk."
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who toured debris basins at Haines Canyon with firefighters Wednesday morning, emphasized the need for people to evacuate if ordered.
"If (the basins) overflow we're looking at a very dangerous situation to the homes underneath, which is why we're asking people to evacuate," Villaraigosa said.
It is not illegal under California law to ignore a so-called mandatory home evacuation order. Nishida said that the names and addresses of residents who refuse to leave were noted so that authorities could keep track of them.
In the upper reaches of suburban La Canada Flintridge, most residents complied Wednesday morning but some told KTLA they were ignoring the evacuation orders.