By Mary O’Keefe
About 60% to 70% of residents who were under mandatory evacuation orders in La Crescenta and La Cañada will be allowed to return home beginning this morning, according to Chief Neal Tyler from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
In this morning’s press conference at Camp Two in La Cañada officials said the evacuation notices for most neighborhoods would begin to be lifted about 10 a.m. Residents can visit the county’s website at http://dpwcare.org to find a list of homes that are no longer under mandatory evacuation. Residents who do not have access to the Internet can call (323) 881-2411.
As of 11 a.m. the evacuation order for all areas in Glendale was lifted. Due to the rains continuing today and chances of continued rain through Wednesday residents are asked to be vigilant and watch the hillsides. There is still a threat of rockslides, mudslides, debris flow and flood. For information visit www.ci.glendale.ca.us or call (818) 548-6464.
Police and sheriff personnel will stay at the entrances of the neighborhoods and will require residents to show identification before allowing them onto the streets.
Chief Tyler responded to reports that some residents are angry with the county’s evacuation orders. Some have reportedly stated they felt the county overreacted. Tyler said he could relate to their frustration because he had been evacuated from his home in the past.
“I remember feeling like that in 2007 [when I was evacuated]. All I can say is when the firefighter [came to] my door and told me to evacuate I was thinking more of his welfare than mine. I decided I would be in his way if he really does have to save my house. I don’t want him worried about me……That is the whole premise of evacuating people in many cases,” he said.
Tyler added although a resident may not be in immediate danger inside their home but it may become dangerous at any given moment. There is no way officials can predict exactly which house will be the most affected.
“In a sense people who stay are jeopardizing the lives of the safety responders who come to help when something does go wrong. I apologize to anybody we have inconvenienced……but I still say even though it is frustrating and even though your particular home wasn’t affected by direct impact from mudslides or debris flow the next time we knock on your door and order you to leave, while it is your choice, we will very much appreciate your cooperation,” he added.
Crescenta Valley Town Council President Cheryl Davis said the council had not received many negative complaints concerning the evacuations.
“We have had mostly positive comments especially about the public works. One resident told us that some K-rails and sandbags that had been placed were directing mud into their driveway. They contacted the public works and they were out there [immediately] to move the K-rails and reposition the sandbags,” Davis said.
Dennis Erdman, general manager of Crescenta Valley Water District, said there were no reports of service being interrupted due to the rain storms. Crews have been evaluating the area most affected by the mudflows and flooding.
“There are two areas of concern one is the access to (reservoirs at) Pickens Canyon and the other is Edmund #2 (near Pine Cone Road),” Erdman said.
Bob Spencer from Los Angeles County Public Works said crews will be cleaning the debris basins as weather permits. They will first concentrate on the Mullaly, Starfall, Pickens and Harter debris basins.
“We will have trucks up and down the streets. We are asking residents to be patient,” Spencer said.
He added Angeles National Forest and Angeles Crest Highway remain closed with “a lot of debris” on the roadways and they are working with Caltrans to begin cleaning those areas as well.
“As a reminder, the Angeles National Forest does remain closed,” he said.
The closure is due to the Station Fire and now unstable hillsides.
Both Spencer and Erdman referenced the positive side of the recent rains with a much needed addition to the water table.
“When this [rain] event is over we will have captured 75,000 acre feet of storm water, enough to service 150,000 families of four for one year,” Spencer said.