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Malibu High School senior Tripp Principe prepares to evacuate from his Malibu West home Tuesday, Jan. 15, with the family pets. Photos by Suzy Demeter/22nd Century Media
Preparations for mudslides are in place at the hillside near the Principe family’s Malibu home, where the storm prior to the last one created a mudflow.
Crews stand by at an area of concern south in the Leo Carrillo/Nicholas Canyon area on Tuesday morning.
Muddy water flows through a channel in Malibu West on Tuesday morning.
Staff Report
8:35 pm PST January 14, 2019

Evacuation orders for specific properties within the Woolsey Fire burn area were lifted at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, but residents were urged to exercise caution, as the potential for falling rocks, mud and debris flow still exists. 

Road closures at Malibu Canyon Road and Topanga Canyon Road remain in place.

Evacuation notices were initially issued for several hundred homes in Malibu Monday, Jan. 14, with mandatory evacuations beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Evacuations were ordered for the following areas: Corral Canyon/El Nido, Escondido/Old Chimney, Escondido Drive/Latigo Canyon, Malibu West/Trancas Canyon, Malibou Lake, all of Ramirez Canyon Road and adjacent streets, and Paradise Cove mobile home park and restaurant.

As of 8 a.m. Thursday morning, no property damage had been reported, and no deaths or injuries have occurred in the Woolsey Fire burn area. Three-hundred homes in the Woolsey Fire burn area, all of which were under mandatory evacuation, and one commercial property are considered to be at-risk.

On Wednesday evening, two rockslides were reported on Malibu Canyon Road (at HRL and at Mulholland), which prompted a closure between Civic Center Way and Piuma Road. 

"Due to darkness, crews are unable to assess the hillsides for risk of further rock or mudslides until morning," the City's Wednesday evening alert stated.

One individual was injured and transported to the hospital after a rock struck their car while they were driving on Malibu Canyon. Malibu Search and Rescue, LA County Fire, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and LA County Public Works responded to the incident. An LA County Fire official said the department did not include the injury in its incident count, as the location was on the edge of the burn area.

Despite the road closures being near Pepperdine University's campus, the school remained open and operating on Thursday.

"Drivers are urged to use caution and good judgment when considering travel along the roads leading to campus as fog, rocks, mud, and debris may be encountered," Pepperdine's Thursday morning emergency alert noted. "At this time, the least vulnerable route to campus is Pacific Coast Highway from the south."

A 2.8-magnitude earthquake reportedly occurred at 12:35 a.m. in the Trancas Canyon area, but no damage was reported. Residents were urged to maintain situational awareness and exercise caution in areas prone to mud and debris flow. 

SMMUSD closed all four of its Malibu schools Tuesday, Jan. 15, through Thursday, Jan. 17.

At the City Council meeting on Monday evening, City Manager Reva Feldman said the City’s emergency operations center was to open at 6 a.m. Jan. 15 and remain open 24 hours a day until conditions improve, Feldman added.

Evacuation centers were opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center, 27040 Malibu Hills Road, and Santa Monica High School-South Gym, 601 Pico Boulevard.

Storms also were expected Wednesday and Thursday, adding more water to hills left bare from the fire and already saturated from heavy rain just a few days prior, Feldman said.

Feldman urged residents to assess their situations and evacuate.

“You cannot escape mud flow. You cannot fight it,” she said. “You need to be very careful and think this through.”

Sen. Henry Stern, too, urged residents to honor evacuation orders.

“Many stayed behind during the fire, but unlike fires, mudslides and floods can’t be fought,” he said. “So I urge all residents ordered to evacuate to do just that. We cannot afford another Montecito.”

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for the area through 1 p.m. Thursday. 

"Southern California residents, in or below the recently burned areas are urged to take the steps necessary to protect their property," the NWS alert states. "Persons in the watch area should remain alert and follow directions of emergency preparedness officials."

A high surf advisory also is in place until 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18. On Wednesday, waves were expected to be 4-7 feet, and they were expected to grow from there. Thursday may bring waves between 5-8 feet, and Friday may deliver waves as tall as 12 feet.

The County of Los Angeles also issued a beach water use advisory, which remains active until 7 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21. Beach-goers are advised to avoid swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers because of potential contamination of ocean waters. 

For more information and resources, visit lacounty.gov/LARain and follow #LARain and #WoolseyFire on social media feeds.