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Big Tujunga Canyon told to evacuate

October 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Big Tujunga Canyon residents have been told to evacuate due to possible mudslides.Rain is on the way, and there's concern it will trigger slides and debris flows in fire-charred canyons and hillside areas of Tujunga Big Canyon.

Residents in communities in Angeles National Forest have already been handed evacuation orders.

The U.S. Forest Service is well aware of the severe risks the pending storm brings, especially for those living in Big Tujunga Canyon.

Sunday morning, the U.S. Forest Service issued an evacuation order saying they want everyone out by Tuesday before the rain comes.

One resident has decided to leave for the season, knowing that every time it rains, she'll be at risk.

It's going to be a long night of packing for Brownwen Aker, as she's locked in a race against mother nature. The long-time Big Tujunga Canyon resident is moving everything she can from her home before the rain moves in.

Her cabin has been in her family for more than 30 years, and it's one of the few that's survived the devastating Station Fire. Now, she may be in harm's way once again.

"I thought I'd dodged a bullet and it was an incredible miracle that my house survived, but now the storms are coming through and there's nothing I can do about it," said Aker.

The U.S. Forest Service has issued an evacuation order for all canyon residents due to the severe risk of flash floods and mudslides. Up to two inches of rain is possible with the incoming storm, and residents like Aker know that their lives could be in danger.

She decided to leave before the wet weather arrived, because she is well aware that even the slightest rain could cause serious problems.

"This winter, there will be successive storms, there will be successive debris flows, and if they come through and they deposit material and it stacks and stacks, come spring time, my house may completely be underneath rocks and boulders and be unrecoverable," said Aker.

Aker added that she feels canyon residents aren't getting the help they need. The U.S. Forest Service has been working on a storm evacuation plan, but mother nature beat them to the punch. They have not yet finalized it, but still officials said they knew that they had to act before the rain comes in.

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