Sheriffs Department Explains the Delay

Woolsey Evacuees Are Moving Back, Slowly

While walking on Swarthmore with the alpaca, the owner, who is a friend of mine and had to evacuate from Topanga, was told by a Caruso security guard to leave! The alpaca is a most gentle and friendly creature, and the children were enjoying the chance to pet her. He was shocked when I explained that Swarthmore is still a public street; Caruso security do not control Swarthmore. It is still our street!

Many Pacific Palisades residents opened their homes to family and friends who had to flee the Woolsey Fire. These evacuees have been anxiously awaiting the okay to return.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department explained the delay for those residents in a November 15 press release titled “Paramount consideration in re-population efforts for areas affected.”

The department explained that with burned and downed power lines, compromised gas lines and roadways destroyed, it has not been safe.

“Debris, rocks and other obstructions are on roads and need to be cleared. Because of how the fire effects the landscape, expect material and rocks to fall onto roadways in the coming days and weeks. Some streets may have downed power lines.”

The release explained that the electrical utility company is replacing hundreds of damaged poles and tens of thousands of feet of wire in order to restore electrical power service.

“Work is slowed by access issues and treacherous conditions,” the Sheriff’s Department wrote. “Water service providers must first make sure electric utilities are able to provide consistent power to supply pumps. Water lines can then be re-pressurized.”

Officials are examining sites to make sure there are no issues with gas lines and fallen power lines. Photo: L.A. County Sheriffs Department

During the Woolsey Fire, three evacuation centers were opened: Palisades High School, Taft High School and Pierce College, with a capacity to house 1,175 people. There are 1,106 beds available.

The Sheriff’s Department urges those still displaced to use the resources at the evacuation centers.

The Department explained that members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) had been sent to evacuation centers.

Or, evacuees can register with FEMA online by visiting: or calling (800) 621-3362 or 800-462-7585 from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, seven days a week.

The Department recommends that people who want to contribute to those who have suffered losses should give to the American Red Cross (, United Way (, Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation ( or the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (

Vintage Grocers, which has a store in Palisades Village, gave a special invitation to those affected:

“We would like to show our thanks to our brave first responders and support displaced victims of the Woolsey and Hill fires by offering a free turkey this Thanksgiving. To order your fully-cooked Diestel Farms turkey, or raw natural turkey, stop by our Westlake Village or Pacific Palisades stores, or email Just show us your fire/police/sheriffs ID or driver’s license, and your turkey is on us!”

Roads and power lines must be inspected by officials before residents are allowed to return.
Photo: L.A. County Sheriffs Department


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