Preparations Urged For Residents in Burn Areas of L.A. and Orange Counties

rain coming for Woolsey fire burn area

MALIBU (CNS) - With up to two inches of rain possible for Los Angeles and Ventura counties beginning tonight into Thursday, Malibu officials urged residents in the Woolsey Fire burn area to make storm preparations as the possibility of rockslides, mudslides and debris flows down fire-scarred slopes loomed.

A statement from the city Tuesday called on all residents “to prepare for potential flooding, mudslides, power outages and evacuations.”

“Prepare for lack of water, power and natural gas, non-functional traffic signals, and roads that may be impassable,” the Malibu city statement said. “Evacuation orders should not be taken lightly and are ordered because there is a threat to life and property. Evacuate early to reduce traffic congestion out of Malibu.”

Residents can pick up free, empty sandbags at Malibu area fire stations.

“We do believe (the storm) will be a little bit more substantial event than we had last week,” Capt. Tony Imbrenda of Los Angeles County Fire told ABC7. “But people need to understand that in any wildland fire scenario, post-recovery situation, any type of rain, small amount, can be a major concern, a flash flood type of scenario. This can develop quickly and it can catch people off guard, so we want people to be vigilant.”

People were reminded to stay away from flood control channels, catch basins, canyons and natural waterways, which are susceptible to flooding during periods of heavy rain, and to be aware that roads throughout the burn areas are subject to intermittent closures due to mud and debris flows.

Motorists are urged to use extreme caution, watch for slippery road conditions, follow posted warnings and speed signs, and never to drive into moving water. Anyone who becomes isolated should seek the highest ground available and wait for help.

If you see someone who has been swept into moving water, do not enter the water and attempt a rescue. Call 911 for emergency rescue personnel and, if possible, throw them a flotation device.

Do not attempt to remove burn debris before this week's anticipated rainfall as it contains hazardous materials that can threaten public health, according to city officials. No debris removal from burned properties is allowed until inspections by state and county health officials have been completed and properties have been approved for debris removal. Burn debris must be properly inspected and disposed of.

Know how to shut off utilities. Beware of water around electricity, including downed power lines, generators, electric appliances, and your home electrical system. There may be intermittent power outages and associated street closures as power is restored throughout the impacted areas. For current power outages, visit SCE outage center page at center.

As natural gas service is restored to areas that have been deemed safe, assessments and necessary repairs are underway. For safety reasons, customers should never attempt to restore natural gas service themselves. For questions about the service restoration process or about natural gas service, contact SoCalGas at (877) 238-0092, or visit

Find out if you have flood insurance and what your existing policy covers. Call your insurance agent or contact the National Flood Insurance Program Call Center at (800) 621-3362 for information about the NFIP or questions about an existing policy.

In Orange County, a voluntary evacuation order was in effect today for portions of the Holy Fire burn area due to potential flood and debris flows caused by significant rainfall expected Thursday morning.

The order was issued by the Orange County Sheriff's Department for homes located within Trabuco Canyon, Rose Canyon and the Mystic Oaks and El Cariso areas.

The OCSD issued the warning after the National Weather Service said significant rainfall could quickly make evacuation routes impassable.

Residents with large animals should follow their personal plans to move their animals before the rainfall arrives, the department said.

Anyone with disabilities and those requiring assistance in evacuating should call the OCSD at (714) 647-7000.

Photo: Getty Images

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