Category: Public Safety

Saddleridge Fire Update

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As of LAFD’s 7 am update this morning (Friday), the Saddleridge Fire is 68% contained and has burned almost 8,500 acres.

Please note that Limekiln Canyon Park and O’Melveny Park remain closed for the time being. Please do not enter these parks until they are re-opened in the next few weeks.

Please take the time to double check that you have signed up for emergency notification systems:

  • Notify LA here or by texting “READY” to 888-777
  • Reverse 911 here
  • Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) here
As always, we ask you remain vigilant and report any emergencies to 911.

How to Report Spam Texts

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If your mobile phone service provider is AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon, you can now report spam texts by forwarding them to 7726 (which spells SPAM). A report will be automatically made to your carrier, who will handle it from there.

Saddleridge Fire Recovery: Local Assistance Center Opening at Sylmar Recreation Center

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Residents & businesses impacted by the Saddleridge Fire: get recovery help & resources from the city, county, state, and other agencies now through Saturday October 26th at the Sylmar Recreation Center, 13109 Borden Ave, Sylmar, CA 91342. Hours are 8am-4pm Sat/Sun and 9:30am-7pm Mon-Fri. Get help replacing lost records, filing insurance claims, applying for disaster assistance & info on cleanup/repair/rebuilding. Get full details by clicking below.

https://emergency.lacity.org/blog/fire-recovery-local-assistance-center-opening-sylmar-recreation-center

With Saddleridge Fire 41% Contained, Questions Turn to Blame

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Thousands of residents were able to return home as the Saddleridge Fire reached 41 percent containment.

As thousands of people returned to their homes and firefighters appeared to get the upper hand on the 7,965-acre Saddleridge Fire in the Northern San Fernando Valley, questions turned to the events Thursday night that sparked the deadly blaze in Sylmar.

Los Angeles Fire Department officials are investigating reports that the blaze began at the base of an electrical transmission tower. Southern California Edison opted not to shut off the power lines during the Santa Ana wind storm in the Sylmar region that has endured three catastrophic wildfires within 11 years.

The Los Angeles Times interviewed a Sylmar couple that said they watched flames burn at the base of the transmission tower from their second story-window. They called the fire department, but by the time the first engines arrived, the flames had spread rapidly. Edison officials cautioned against a rush to judgement. Read more »

Saddleridge Fire Evacuations Lifted Though Blaze Rages On

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The Saddleridge Fire is just 19 percent contained, but tens of thousands of people were allowed to return home Saturday.

Tens of thousands of evacuated Porter Ranch and Granada Hills residents are now able to return home even though the massive Saddleridge fire continues to rage, destroying dozens of homes and blackening more than 7,542 acres. Authorities lifted evacuation orders Saturday as the blaze reached 19 percent containment.

Gov. Gavin Newsom had declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles county (and Riverside county) where at least 31 homes have been damaged by the blaze and 100,000 people were forced from their homes since Thursday.  The declarations free up local and state resources to aid in the firefighting effort.Police spent the night escorting residents back into their homes for five minute intervals, allowing them to collect the vital belongings they were forced to leave behind due to the fast-moving fire.

The Saddleridge Fire has created dangerously unhealthy air quality over a huge chunk of the Southland, which continues to pose concerns.

Officials said the blaze was 19% contained as of Saturday morning — which remains the latest update — and was burning in the areas of Sylmar, Granada Hills and Porter Ranch. Read more »

California Evacuates 100K People as Wildfire Ravages Parts of Los Angeles

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California officials evacuated roughly 100,000 people from their homes as a wildfire plows through the northern edge of Los Angeles, authorities said Friday.

The fire has burned more than 25 homes and 23,000 residences are ordered to evacuate, officials said. The fire began Thursday night and went on for over 7 square miles as of early Friday, Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said, according to The Associated Press.

Ten percent of the fire has been contained, AP noted. The evacuations came as the state’s public utility company began shutting off power to prevent sparking a wildfire.

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) cut off the power to 513,000 northern California homes and businesses Wednesday, with thousands more set to lose power. Additionally, California’s wind-swept terrain and dry grass is a tinderbox.

The Woolsey Fire was one of two wildfires that burned through Ventura County and Los Angeles County in 2018. The two blazes scorched tens of thousands of acres, reports that year show. More than 80 people were killed in the Camp Fire, which ripped through the northern part of the state at approximately the same time as Woolsey.

Saddleridge Fire School Closures

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College and elementary school students across northeastern San Fernando Valley will not have school Friday due to the Saddleridge Fire.

The massive Saddleridge Fire threatening communities in northeastern San Fernando Valley prompted the closures of colleges and elementary schools throughout the region.

The LAUSD School Closures:

  • Castlebay Lane Charter School, 19010 Castlebay Lane in Porter Ranch;
  • Danube Avenue Elementary School, 11220 Danube Ave., in Granada Hills;
  • El Oro Way Elementary School, 12230 El Oro Way in Granada Hills;
  • Haskell STEAM Magnet, 15850 Tulsa St., in Granada Hills;
  • Knollwood Preparatory Academy, 11822 Gerald Ave., in Granada Hills;
  • Porter Ranch Community School, 12450 Mason Ave., in Porter Ranch;
  • Van Gogh Charter School, 17160 Van Gogh St., in Granada Hills;
  • Kennedy High School, 11254 Gothic Ave., in Granada Hills;
  • Rinaldi Adult School, 17450 Rinaldi St., in Granada Hills;
  • Granada Hills High School, 10535 Zelzah Ave., in Granada Hills;
  • Bert Corona High School and Bert Corona Charter School in Pacoima;
  • Frost Middle School in Granada Hills;
  • Jane Addams Continuation High School in Granada Hills;
  • North Valley Military Institute in Sun Valley;
  • Montague Charter Academy in Pacoima;
  • Valley International Preparatory High School in Chatsworth;
  • Magnolia Public Schools 1,2,5,7; and — all three Valor Academy Charter Schools
  • Fenton Avenue Primary Center and Elementary Charter School in Pacoima;
  • Fenton STEM Academy Elementary Charter;
  • Fenton Charter Leadership Academy;
  • HighTech Los Angeles Middle School in Van Nuys;
  • Ivy Academia Charter in Woodland Hills;
  • Valley Charter elementary and middle schools in Van Nuys.
  • Discovery Charter Preparatory School #2 in Sylmar;
  • James Jordan Middle School in Winnetka;
  • New Academy Canoga Park;
  • West Valley Occupational Center in Woodland Hills;
  • Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in San Fernando

College Closures:

  • Los Angeles Pierce College,
  • Los Angeles Mission College
  • Los Angeles Valley College,
  • California State University, Northridge

No closures were immediately reported at College of the Canyons or The Masters University in Santa Clarita.

Aliso Canyon Storage Facility Closes as Saddleridge Fire Rages

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Southern California Gas Company officials shut down the Aliso Canyon storage facility as a precaution due to the fire threat Friday.

The Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon storage facility has been evacuated due to the Saddleridge Fire, authorities said Friday.

“All SoCalGas Aliso Canyon storage facility staff are safe, and the facility has been evacuated by fire officials,” utility spokesperson Melissa Bailey said in a statement.

“L.A. (city) Fire and L.A. County Fire have multiple fire engines and personnel fighting the fire in and around the Aliso Canyon facility,” Bailey said. “There is no known damage to our facility at this time.”

SoCalGas maintains a “detailed and systematic” brush-clearing program around its facilities to minimize the chances of a brush fire affecting storage wellheads, Bailey said.

“We do not anticipate any damage to our storage wellheads due to the fire,” Bailey said. “Once the facility evacuation is lifted, crews will assess any damage to the facility.”

Bailey cautioned residents whose natural gas service was shut off not to try to turn it back on themselves.

“Only a SoCalGas technician or certified contractors are authorized to operate the natural gas service shut-off valve,” Bailey said. “We urge customers to continue to report suspected gas leaks by calling 1-800-427-2200 or 911 after evacuating the immediate area.”

‘Dangerous’ Heat Wave Prompts Warnings for LA Region

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Check in on your neighbors and elderly loved ones as this heat wave creates “a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible.”

Summer is almost officially over, and it’s going out on a dangerously hot note. Weather Service officials issued a heat advisory for the Los Angeles region, warning of “a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible.”

Residents in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains should be particularly comfortable as Friday’s temperatures were expected to top 104 degrees in some valley neighborhoods. Temperatures inside vehicles parked in hot weather “can quickly rise to life-threatening levels” even with windows left open, meaning people and pets must not be left in such vehicles, warned the National Weather Service.

The advisory will be in effect from 11 Friday morning until 7 Friday evening, the National Weather Service said. Read more »

At Least Now When Your Power Goes Out, LADWP Will Text You

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Or send an email, in your choice of English or Spanish. That’s a change from days of yore, when you had to get the information for yourself.

During last July’s heat storm, parts of Los Angeles sustained lengthy power outages, along with a shortage of information about when they would end. The Twitter rants from Angelenos kept (literally and figuratively) in the dark were as heated as the asphalt melting in the streets.

The Department of Water and Power is now rolling out a new service intended to close the power outage information gap, but to get alerts, you have to opt-in.

Instructions are in this video, but the brief version is to sign in to your customer account at www.ladwp.com and click the “Outage Alerts” tab on the left side of the screen and follow the instructions.

Customers can get email or text alerts in English or Spanish about outages in up to three different parts of L.A…  For example, one for yourself, and the others for your family or your workplace.

The system also sends updates on expected repair times and when the power is back on.

In the past, LADWP has used social media to inform the public of outages. It posts an outage map online, too. People could also call in to ask when repairs would be completed. But this is the first messaging app that pushes the information directly to customers.

Sign Up Today for the Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair 2019

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A Fun and Free Family Event that Just Might Save Your Life, Your Pet’s Life, or the Life of a Loved One

Saturday, October 12, 2019

9:00 am to 1:30 pm

Northridge Fashion Center—Pacific Theaters Parking Lot
(9400 Shirley Ave., south of Plummer St.)

Click here to register: https://www.valleydisasterfair.com/registration/index.php

  • Exhibits
  • Demonstrations
  • Displays
  • Speakers
  • Special Events
  • Bloodmobile
  • Pet Preparedness
  • Free Parking
  • Free Admission
  • Free Lunch*

It’s All Free!

Complimentary Family Emergency Preparedness (EP) Starter Kit* for registered families attending the Fair. One kit per registered family. (While supplies last.)

Click Read More below for the Spanish flyer
Read more »

Valley’s Record Heat Wave To Continue

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A ridge of high pressure will continue to keep temperatures above normal Monday, but relief is in sight.

A weekend heat wave is expected to continue to scorch the Los Angeles region with above average temperatures Monday.

Sunday saw record heat in parts of the city and triple digit temperatures in the valleys. A ridge of high pressure is to blame, and it will remain in the Los Angeles area Monday. Expect above-normal temperatures to most areas, especially the valleys. However, the hot weather won’t challenge records as they did Sunday, forecasters said.

It was a strange kind of heatwave. An offshore flow blowing warm air from the deserts to the ocean helped the high pressure “squash” the marine layer that normally keeps temperatures down in June, Kittell said. But a shallow marine layer remained along the coastal plane and inland, so while Burbank temperatures hit 100 degrees the high in downtown Los Angeles was 82, he said.

The Sunday temperature in Burbank surprisingly hit 100 degrees, which tied a 1979 record for June 9 and a 101 in Woodland Hills and 102 in Van Nuys failed to break records, National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Kittell said.

Expect more of the same on Monday with valley temperatures in the mid-90s to 100 but highs downtown and other inland areas in low to mid 80s and mid-70s along beaches, Kittell said.

He did not expect records to be broken Monday because they are higher for this date.

A gradual cooling is expected to begin Tuesday, with valley temperatures in the low to mid-90s, inland temperatures remaining in the low to mid-80s and beach temperatures in the 70s, he said.

The marine layer will thicken and temperatures are forecast to decline Thursday and Friday with valleys in the 80s, inland areas in the 70s and beaches in the upper 60s to 70s, Kittell said.

“This is June Gloom season,” he said.

New Way to Report Suspicious Activity in Our Neighborhood on LAPD Website

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Hello stakeholders, we learned of a new feature on LAPD website when I’d to call non-emergency LAPD for another issue. The helpful dispatcher informed us about this new feature, iWatchLA and we wanted to share with our neighborhood: “http://www.lapdonline.org/iwatchla” –> then click “To file an online report click here.”

You can also download the iWatchLA app on iOS/Android. Let’s be vigilant in our neighborhood for suspicious activities.

Get Your SHAKEALERTLA Phone App

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L.A. County earthquake early-warning app is now available on iPhone and Android devices through the Apple APP Store and Google Play Store.

This phone app alerts Los Angeles County residents to earthquakes, possibly giving critical seconds of warning before shaking starts. You may receive the alert before during or after shaking.

Turning Down the Volume on Party Houses

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L.A. City Council to impose new fines in crackdown on ‘party houses’

On Wednesday, February 21st, the City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to rein in out-of-control party houses in Los Angeles. The ordinance creates a series of escalating fines against the homeowners or those who rent from them, who use their homes for massive gatherings that disturb neighbors, block the public right-of-way, and threaten public safety. It includes increasing fines of up to $8,000. The ordinance also requires those who violate the ordinance to post a public notice for 30 days notifying neighbors of their unlawful conduct.

The new law, first proposed by Councilman David Ryu in 2016, expands the definition of “loud and unruly conduct” to include loud noises, obstruction of a street or public right-of-way, public intoxication and more.

The ordinance, which was supported by a variety of neighborhood councils and community organizations, is meant to dissuade property owners from renting out their homes to professional party-throwers and reduce the likelihood of future violations, freeing up law enforcement personnel for other purposes.

“Too often, we have seen people renting out their homes for the express purpose of turning it into a venue for elaborate events,” Councilmember Paul Koretz noted. “These aren’t barbeques or birthday parties, these are massive events with cover fees and throngs of people tossing cigarette butts in fire prone areas. Trying to control them has been a challenge for the City because the laws and jurisdictional authority have not been clear. This ordinance changes that.”

The new ordinance provides the City with a focused set of procedures and punishments to better address the phenomenon.

“With this new ordinance, the party is over for these completely out-of-hand neighborhood headaches,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “With escalating fines into the thousands of dollars, this ordinance has the teeth to help us continue our house party prosecutions with greater effectiveness.”

Apologies in advance to party fans Chad Kroeger and JT Parr.