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Evacuations recommended as storm approaches burn areas
04 March 2018, 02:02 | Marta Robbins
Not again! Residents are ordered to evacuate parts of Santa Barbara ahead of winter storm that could trigger more mudslides and debris flows
Stephanie Myers, a spokeswoman for Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe, estimated snow was falling at about 2 inches (5 centimeters) an hour.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office released a recommended evacuation warning February 28, warning residents near the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier burn areas of potential mudslides and debris flows.
Sheriff Brown urged people not to wait for an individual warning, or for someone to come to their home, and instead urged those living within the boundaries of the evacuation order to evacuate immediately.
People can not be forced to leave their homes under a mandatory evacuation order, but authorities said they should not be expected to be rescued while the storm event is occurring. As many as 7 to 10 feet of snow were possible in total in the Sierra Nevada.
"We had assessed the area to be safe to open to the public and unfortunately an avalanche did occur after that assessment was made", Hepburn said.
Snow fell across Southern California mountains and in the high desert Tuesday as the first of the week's two predicted storms moved through the region.
The order includes Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria.
Santa Barbara County ordered the immediate evacuations for residents of areas burned by three major wildfires over the past 18 months.
And considering the devastating mudslides in January, which killed 21 people, "we can not take any unnecessary chances", the sheriff said.
As many as 30,000 people are under orders to leave Friday in foothill communities of Santa Barbara County, including areas devastated by deadly mud flows in January. Those heavy rainfall amounts could generate mud and debris flows near the burn areas.
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