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Burn area residents allowed home, no evacs

February 19, 2010 12:25:13 AM PST
About 200 foothill residents were allowed to return to their homes Saturday morning after officials lifted all evacuation orders in the mudslide-prone areas.Rain hit Southern California overnight, but caused no trouble for burn area residents in La Canada Flintridge and La Crescenta.

The evacuations were ordered Friday night as a precautionary measure to 188 homes. People living in La Canada Flintridge and La Crescenta received reverse-911 calls Thursday night warning them of the evacuations.

Sheriff's deputies ordered 42 homes in La Crescenta and 146 in La Canada Flintridge evacuated, but some residents stayed behind as they are legally entitled to do. Deputies, however, had them sign waivers.

"Of the 188 homes ordered evacuated, 95 refused, so we had about a 50 percent compliance rate," sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.

"We feel safe where the house is. We sit up high and back from the street so we're OK, said Kathy Allen, who lives in La Canada Flintridge and chose not to evacuate. "My parents have been here 47 years, this is my childhood home. This is worst I've ever seen it in 47 years."

"We've had to evacuate for fires and several times for the mud flows," said Jack Wunderlich, who also stayed behind. "It doesn't appear to be quite as bad as everyone thinks it's going to be just because of the weather variables. I really think it should be a personal choice."

But deputies wanted to avoid a repeat of two weeks ago when heavy rains flooded home and streets with mud, causing damage to 43 homes in La Canada Flintridge.

Homes in the foothills below slopes left bare by wildfires are considered at risk. Public works crews hope the work they're doing will protect those homes.

"We've been busy cleaning out all of the debris basins in the burn areas since the last storm came through," said Bob Spencer, L.A. County Department of Public Works.

While there was no indication of any damage from Friday's rain, another round of showers are expected Sunday night.