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Evacuation holdouts again urged to leave before feared mudslides

January 21, 2010 | 10:05 am

As another in a string of storms moves through the region, officials this morning are gearing up for possible mudslides that could hit L.A. foothill communities, and they're warning several hundred residents who chose to ignore evacuation orders that they should leave.

Debris basins and flood control channels in the La Cañada Flintridge, Acton and La Crescenta areas, as well as Tujunga Canyon, are nearly at capacity, which could cause mudslides if a hard rainfall occurs, said Gail Farber, director of the Los Angeles County Public Works Department.

No major debris flows had been reported as of early this morning, Farber said, but she warned that “the storm is not over.”

John Tripp of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said the threat of mudflow is high today. The department added 90 firefighters in the areas that lost ground-stabilizing vegetation in last year's wildfires;  45 of those firefighters are specialized in urban search and rescue.

Tripp said that the department predicts the roads into those areas will be closed and to access to them would require heavy equipment.

To the residents who opt to ignore evacuation orders, Tripp said: “Very likely we will not be able to reach you.”

Other officials urged residents who have not yet evacuated to leave today.

“There is a great deal of rain to come,” said Chief Neil Tyler of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “We can’t keep running on luck forever.”

-- My-Thuan Tran