Rain Triggers Mudslide in Malibu; Residents Told to Evacuate

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Heavy rains in the Woolsey Fire burn area on Thursday caused a mudslide in Malibu, and area residents were told to evacuate immediately.

The debris flow was reported on Cuthbert Road, between Horizon and Busch drives, Malibu city officials said just after 4 p.m.

Those who live in the area of Busch Drive to Phillip Avenue should evacuate immediately, the city said.

Aerial video showed the mud had streamed down a hillside in the area, inundating streets and lots containing homes destroyed by Woolsey. Houses that did survive the fire were threatened, but the debris flow did not appear to have damaged them.

The city contracted a crew to clean up the streets, and the team would remain on scene overnight, using bulldozers and other equipment to clear area roadways of standing water and mud.

Thomas Donnelly, part of contract crew, said there was a dangerous potential for mudflows even after the rain stopped falling later Thursday night.

“Even when it’s not raining, everything’s still wet and loose up there, so we have guys standing by just watching for mud to come down the hills,” he told KTLA.

Crews were working elsewhere in Malibu to unclog drains and force runoff from roadways. Officials also had to clear a portion of Pacific Coast Highway between Trancas Canyon Road and Morning View Drive, where the right lane became flooded.

Although evacuations were previously ordered in Riverside and Orange counties in neighborhoods charred by the Holy Fire ahead of the storm, Thursday evening’s was the first evacuation order issued this week in the Woolsey burn area.

A flood advisory had been in effect through 7 p.m. across eastern Ventura and western Los Angeles counties, and roadway flooding could be expected across the region as a result of brief but heavy downpours, the National Weather Service said.

Other locations that could experience flooding included downtown L.A., the San Fernando Valley, the Santa Clarita Valley and mountains along with areas damaged in last summer’s Stone and South fires, in Agua Dulce and Newhall respectively.

Major highways would also be impacted by the storm, and authorities warned of region-wide traffic delays with flooding possible on the 10, 110, 405, 605 and 710 freeways as well as highways 101, 118 and 14.

The Woolsey Fire killed three people and consumed more than 1,600 buildings as it grew to cover 151 square miles before firefighters were able to contain it just over a week ago, on Nov. 21.

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