Evacuation notice broadcast countywide made ‘in error’

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An evacuation notice broadcast across televisions in both L.A. County and parts of Ventura County in connection to the #RouteFire on Wednesday was sent out “in error,” according to law enforcement officials.  

The mistaken evacuation notice was photographed and distributed across social media on Wednesday and Thursday, leaving some residents confused and multiple agencies being required to provide responses and clarification.  

In a statement released on its Twitter account, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said the evacuation notice received by some Ventura County residents on television — interrupting their regular programming — was sent “in error by the county of Los Angeles.”  

“There is no threat to Ventura County at this time and no need for residents to evacuate,” read the Ventura Sheriff’s Department’s message. 

In responding to online questions from their customers, Spectrum officials said the FCC requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service providers and direct broadcast satellite providers to provide the national alert messages. 

“In this case, it does appear that this message was broadcasted by a public entity,” read a tweet from the “Ask Spectrum” profile. Cable company officials then referred their customers to the tweet from Ventura Sheriff’s that called the evacuation an error.  

The evacuation message, pictures of which were distributed on various social media platforms, read as follows: “A civil authority has issued an IMMEDIATE EVACUATION NOTICE for the following counties or areas: Eastern North Pacific Ocean; Eastern North Pacific Ocean; Port Conception to Guadalupe Island, Eastern North Pacific; Los Angeles, CA; Eastern North Pacific Ocean; Eastern North Pacific Ocean; Eastern North Pacific Ocean; Eastern North Pacific Ocean; Eastern North Pacific Ocean; Eastern North Pacific Ocean; Eastern North Pacific Ocean; Eastern North Pacific Ocean; Eastern North Pacific Ocean; at 5:08 PM on AUG 31, 2022 Effective until 8:08 p.m.”  

However, while the multi-county, erroneous message was quickly retracted, Santa Clarita residents continued to deal with actual evacuations of their own as late as Thursday as a result of the #RouteFire, which broke out Thursday afternoon in Castaic and burned approximately 5,000 acres in less than 24 hours.  

Evacuations, as of Thursday at 9 a.m., were still in place for anything on the Old Ridge Route between Northlake Hills Elementary School and Templin Highway. Additionally, North Lake Hills Elementary would be closed on Friday due to smoke in and around the campus, according to Castaic Union School District officials.  

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