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Burn areas get new notification procedures

December 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A new storm in on the way for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In an effort to be even more prepared, officials have changed the way they will notify resident whose homes are in danger of damage from mud and debris flows. The changes are for the recent burn areas in Yorba Linda. City officials say the changes that go into effect Wednesday should make it a little more convenient for people who live here instead of having police cars go through the neighborhood at all hours ordering people to evacuate. Instead of that, city officials say they have other ways to get information to people.

With every rainfall comes concern among many residents living next to steep hillsides burned by November's wildfires in Yorba Linda.

"These hills can still slide, they're still saturated," said Yorba Linda Mayor Mark Schwing. "In fact, they're probably more prone to slide today than they were a few days ago.

Another flash-flood watch is expected to be issued for Wednesday night, the same day city officials say a different notification system will go into effect for residents.

"Prior procedure, we would actually have the police cars go out on the street, no matter what time it was, with their sirens blaring, ordering evacuations," said Mark Stowell, Yorba Linda Public Works. "It was set up checkpoints at the entrance to neighborhoods. Now, basically they'll be getting alert notices via phone or they can go to the Web site."

The reverse-911 system came under scrutiny after many residents in Yorba Linda did not receive a warning about the wildfires, leaving some with little time to escape. Officials say the system is now working. In addition to the reverse-911, they also encourage residents to monitor the local community cable Channel 3 and the city's Web site.

"Based on our experience with the past three storms and comments from our residents, we feel we have an improved notification system," said Mayor Schwing.

Sandbags have been set up in Box Canyon ready for the next storm.


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