Agencies address Tijuana River Valley evacuation plan concerns

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SAN DIEGO – County and city leaders met Tuesday to address concerns from South Bay ranchers and emergency personnel over the lack of evacuation plans near Tijuana River Valley.

San Diego Councilman David Alvarez brought together several local agency`s including San Diego Police Department, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, Swift Water Rescue team, San Diego Animal Control and U.S. Border Patrol to talk about the plan to deal with extreme rain and flooding in the Tijuana River Valley area.

Alvarez's agenda was to make sure everyone is on the same page and hear concerns directly from ranchers who have the added issue of evacuating livestock.

Lt. Laura Ward with county Animal control, says all ranchers must have an evacuation plan in place, "All horse owners need to have plan in that area and they need to have a place to go an get the horse out specifically the horses ahead of time."

The Tijuana River Valley area Tuesday was under a Level 3 Alert which means authorities are in the field monitoring and checking on flood prone areas.  National Weather Service said the area could expect two inches of rain.

As of 3 p.m., storm-related flooding has forced a temporary closure of the 2100 block of Monument Road in the Tijuana River Valley, west of Hollister Street and about a half-mile north of the U.S.-Mexico border, according to San Diego police. Motorists are advised to avoid the area until further notice.

County Animal Services Lt. Laura Ward said their biggest concern is that people don't have an evacuation plan and will not get out ahead of time.

"It's a little of a concern because we've been working with the Tijuana River Valley community and it was my understanding that they had [evacuation] plans, but not enough have a plan," Ward said.  "We need to do something with the different ranches so they don't expect us to come in and evacuate 1000 horses."

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