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L.A. officials urge residents to obey evacuation orders

January 19, 2010 | 10:57 pm
Los Angeles city officials tonight urged residents in mudslide-prone areas to heed evacuation orders and said that fire units are patrolling foothill neighborhoods.

"We're asking you to please cooperate," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a news conference at Fire Station 81 in Panorama City. "There's too many people not heeding advice."

The mayor was flanked by city officials who have set up an emergency command post at the firehouse to coordinate the city's response in advance of a powerful storm that is expected to pound the region Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has temporarily suspended a daily shutdown of rescue units because of the emergency, officials said. Under the cost-saving plan, 15 fire engines and six ambulances are typically taken out of service each day because of budget cuts.

Additional fire units were patrolling burn areas in the city tonight to monitor conditions and to radio for help should an emergency arise, officials said.

Earlier tonight, police began issuing evacuation orders in the northeast San Fernando Valley, where residents in 262 homes are supposed to leave by 9 a.m.

Also, authorities plan to order on Wednesday morning the evacuation of roughly 500 homes in La Crescenta, La CaƱada Flintridge and Acton. The evacuations will begin at 9 a.m. and must be completed by 1 p.m. A full address list of affected homes is available on the Coordinated Agency Recovery Effort (CARE) website here.

--Robert J. Lopez