Mandatory Evacuations Ordered For Residents Near Scene of Woolsey Fire

Woolsey fire evacautions

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Hundreds of residents living near the scene of November's Woolsey Fire were under mandatory evacuation orders so they won't be engulfed by mud amid afternoon rains, which are expected to be heavy.

The Woolsey Fire area in Ventura County and in the Malibu area in Los Angeles County is regarded by weather experts as the most vulnerable of the region's burn areas.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered to begin at 8 a.m. for specific properties adjacent to steep slopes or at the base of drainages in the following Woolsey Fire burn areas:

--Corral Canyon / El Nido;

--Escondido / Old Chimney;

--Escondido Drive / Latigo Canyon;

--Malibu West / Trancas Canyon;

--Malibu Lake;

--All of Ramirez Canyon Road and adjacent streets; and the

--Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park and Restaurant.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department emphasized the risks in a statement.

“Authorities warn that all residents who live in or near the Woolsey Fire burn area should remain aware of their surroundings and weather conditions during these storms. Even small amounts of rainfall rates may result in significant mud and debris flow, so we strongly encourage residents who live in or near Woolsey Fire burn areas to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Darren Harris.

“If you feel unsafe or think that hazardous conditions near your home may develop, do not hesitate to leave. Elderly residents, individuals who have medical conditions and residents who own large animals should make plans now to leave their homes as a precaution.'

Los Angeles County public safety officials said communities in low- lying areas or next to steep slopes or waterways are particularly at-risk of falling debris and mud flow.

Residents living in homes with limited roadway access or that can become isolated for an extended period due to the storm should consider leaving before storms arrive, and homes or neighborhoods with gates should consider leaving them open to avoid being trapped due to mud flow accumulation; even one- inch of mud can restrict gate operations.

“If your property becomes unsafe and there is no time to evacuate, seek safe high-ground,” urged the sheriff department statement. It added:

“Since all canyon roads may be blocked and subject to closure for extended periods, residents should have enough food, water, medication and supplies for at least seven to 10 days for all family members, including pets and large animals.”

In Sacramento, state Sen. Henry Stern today joined the chorus of warnings.

“Our most vulnerable areas burned by the Woolsey Fire in November will be hit with a deluge today ... So I urge all residents ordered to evacuate to do just that.

In Encino, a voluntary evacuation order was in effect this morning for 14 homes in a neighborhood where a house and guest house were damaged Monday by a rain-fueled mud flow.

A grading expert examined the hillside Monday night and determined no additional slide was anticipated, but as a precaution the voluntary evacuation order was issued about 10 p.m. for the homes on Boris and Martson drives, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

A geologist and grading expert will conduct further evaluation today, Stewart said.

Storm evacuations

A wall of mud flowed onto the property at 17986 Boris Drive about 5 p.m. Monday, Stewart said. All three adult occupants were able to escape safely, she said.

The guest house was moved off its foundation and was red-tagged, meaning it was deemed unsafe to occupy and the main house was yellow-tagged, Stewart said.A winter storm warning denoting highly challenging travel conditions is in effect today in the San Gabriel Mountains, where heavy snow and gusty winds are expected through late tonight.

A winter storm warning denoting highly challenging travel conditions was in effect today in the San Gabriel Mountains, where heavy snow and gusty winds are expected through late tonight.

Snow levels in the San Gabriels in L.A. and Ventura counties will be around 5,500 feet this morning, except on some northern slopes, where snow will fall at 4,500 feet, according to a National Weather Service statement.

Snow levels are expected to rise to between 6,000 and 6,500 feet later today and remain at those levels tonight, according to the statement. Additional snow accumulations of 1 to 2 feet are expected above 6,500 feet, with 6 to 12 inches between 5,500 and 6,500 feet.

Conditions may still be icy and dangerous on portions of Interstate 5 early this morning. Although warming is expected to put an end to icy conditions there this morning, heavy rain and strong winds will likely continue to create hazardous travel on Interstate 5 through tonight.

At the same time, south winds 20 to 30 miles per hour will buffet the mountains, accompanied by gusts of 60 mph.

“Plan on difficult travel conditions and possible road closures. Trees and power lines may be downed. Be prepared for significant reductions in visibility at times,” the statement warned. “A winter storm warning for snow means severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions from CalTrans are available by calling (800) 427 7623.

Along the coast, a high surf advisory will be in force until 8 p.m. Friday.

The NWS forecast rain in L.A. County today and highs of 44 on Mount Wilson; 50 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 52 in Saugus; 56 in Pasadena, San Gabriel, Burbank and Woodland Hills; 58 in Downtown L.A.; 59 at LAX; an 60 in Long Beach. Rain and low temperatures are forecast through Thursday.

Rain was also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 40 on Santiago Peak; 50 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 54 in Fremont Canyon; 57 in Trabuco Canyon and Yorba Linda; 59 in Anahein; 60 in San Clemente, Fullerton and Mission Viejo; 61 in Irvine and Laguna Beach; and 62 in Newport Beach. It will rain in Orange County through Thursday.

Photo: Getty Images

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