Submitted by Kathleen Hutton on
The LA City Emergency Management Department urges residents in recent burn areas to be aware of potential hazards in their area as heavy rains move into Los Angeles. The recent Creek, La Tuna, and Skirball fires have left some areas at higher risk of debris flows during heavy rains. Debris flows occur when excessive rainfall causes soil, vegetation, and other debris to run downhill. Debris flows can be dangerous, so it's important to be aware of your risk and take precautions to ensure your safety in recent burn areas.
Winter Weather Safety
Know your flood risk. Flood insurance is not included in most homeowners or rental insurance policies. Get insurance now to make sure you’re covered before the storm.
Look around your home for hazards that might create problems during rainstorms. Are trees overgrown and hanging onto your roof? Are your gutters cleared? Do you live on a hillside that could erode? Address these issues as soon as possible. Have tools, tarps, and sandbags ready.
Secure loose items in your yard that might block storm drains and cause flooding on your street, including toys, tools, and yard décor. Call 3-1-1 or use the My311 mobile app to notify the City of debris that needs to be cleared.
For more tips, check out our recent blog post about Wet Winter Weather safety.
How Your City Prepares
The City of Los Angeles is preparing recent burn areas for the potential of debris flows during winter storms.
The Emergency Management Department actively monitors winter storms in coordination with the National Weather Service, Los Angeles Fire Department, LA City and LA County Public Works, Department of Transportation, and other response partners. We stand ready to assist and support field response agencies as they work to ensure your safety and the continued operation of City services.
The Los Angeles Fire Department has ordered more than 200,000 ready-to-fill sandbags. These sandbags available at all Neighborhood Fire Stations. Please note that residents are welcomed to no more than 25 bags. LAFD also works very closely with the Bureau of Street Services and has ordered more than 250 tons of sand made available at several fire stations and convenient community locations. A list of locations with sand for sandbags is available at LAFD.org.
LA City and County Public Works have inspected recent burn areas and determined which areas are at highest risk for potential debris flows. For more information on debris flows, including maps, safety information, and alerts, visit LA County Public Works website. Mitigation work is underway to protect hillside areas.
LA County Winter Shelters will be open 24/7 starting tonight through Wednesday morning. For more information, visit the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority website at lahsa.org/winter-shelter.
How You Can Prepare
Sign up for emergency alerts from the City of Los Angeles. The system is free (data rates may apply for text messages). Learn more and sign up at emergency.lacity.org/notifyla.
Register for debris flow updates and notifications from LA County Public Works. Learn more and sign up at dpw.lacounty.gov/wrd/fire.
Obtain sandbags from your local LAFD fire station. Some LAFD stations have sand available, but you can also use local soil to fill sandbags! Click here to watch a video on sandbagging techniques.
Prepare your home for the potential of fast moving water. Remove or secure loose items in your yard that can be swept away and add to the debris in a debris flow. When possible, park vehicles in driveways or garages instead of narrow residential streets. Streets can channel fast-moving water and debris.
Stay alert! Follow local forecasts and empower yourself with the information and tools you need to make smart decisions during winter storms.
Be prepared to evacuate immediately if ordered. Debris flows move as fast as 50 mph. Being ready to evacuate immediately could save your life. For more information on preparing to evacuate, visit LAFD's Ready Set Go! page.
Winter Weather Resources
LAFD Sandbag Information: lafd.org/news/lafd-provides-sandbags-homeowners-1
LA County Sandbag Information: dpw.lacounty.gov/dsg/sandbags
LA Stormwater: lastormwater.org/take-action/prepare-for-wet-weather
LA City Sanitation: lacitysan.org/wetweather
LA County Winter Shelter Program: lahsa.org
EMD on Twitter: twitter.com/readyla
NotifyLA on Twitter: twitter.com/notifyla
LAFD on Twitter: twitter.com/lafd