Things to know about a landslide that has destroyed homes in Southern California

Jul 11, 2023, 3:19 PM

Damaged homes are torn apart by earth movement in the Los Angeles County city of Rolling Hills Esta...

Damaged homes are torn apart by earth movement in the Los Angeles County city of Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., on Monday, July 10, 2023. The dozen homes torn apart were hastily evacuated by firefighters Saturday when cracks began appearing in structures and the ground. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, Calif. (AP) — A landslide is destroying a cluster of hilltop homes in a gated Southern California community and poses a threat to others. Here are some things to know:


Los Angeles County firefighters responding to a report in the city of Rolling Hills Estates on Saturday discovered cracks in buildings and on the ground. Twelve homes on Peartree Lane were red-tagged as unsafe and residents had just 20 minutes to get out.

Ten of the homes began sliding down into a canyon. Walls and decks ripped apart. Neat tile roofs shattered as they pancaked into a jumble. Although two of the red-tagged homes had not slid down as of Tuesday, county Fire Chief Anthony C. Marrone said they did move.

An additional 16 homes were being monitored but residents were allowed to stay.


Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents the area, told reporters this week that it’s only a matter of time until the homes on the Palos Verdes Peninsula fall to the bottom of the canyon.

Authorities can only wait.

“We don’t know how long that’s going to take,” said Marrone. “We don’t know how long that these homes are going to continue to move, but at this time it’s just a holding pattern that we’re in, waiting to see what the final determination is going to be.”


Sixteen residents were displaced. The Red Cross offered hotel vouchers, but they stayed with friends and relatives in the area, according to Mayor Britt Huff.


The cause is not known, but an obvious potential suspect is the exceptionally heavy rain that fell on California this past winter. Water percolating down through soil is known to be able to activate a slide months after the last rainfall.

“For these homes that are already gone into the canyon, there is nothing more that we can do for them,” said Hahn. “But we think after it’s all settled, a good geologist and soil expert maybe will give us a clue about how this happened and if there is any way to prevent it from happening in the future on some other hillside.”

The entire community is private, including the streets, so officials said it will be up to the homeowner’s association to hire a geologist. Hahn said the county did recommend geologists and that the association’s management company is handling that issue.


Residents were checking whether their homeowners insurance covers landslides, according to Hahn. In the meantime, the county assessor Jeff Prang was brought in to expedite property tax waivers that could result in little or no tax bills.

“Obviously property is valued based on the land and the improvements,” Prang told reporters on Peartree Lane. “These homes behind us, there are no improvements. Those are a total loss. And the land that was beneath them is now going to be a hillside. So when we’re done valuing this property, they will have nominal value.”


The Rolling Hills Estates City Council was scheduled to vote Tuesday night on a resolution to proclaim a local emergency due to significant land movement “requiring immediate and ongoing action from the City, first responder agencies, and utility companies.”

The staff report on the resolution said the costs of responding to the incident were unknown because it was still evolving but adoption of the resolution would allow the city to request funds from the state Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

United States News

FILE - Evacuees from Afghanistan wait with other evacuees to fly to the United States or another sa...

Associated Press

He spoke no English, had no lawyer. An Afghan man’s case offers a glimpse into US immigration court

The Afghan man speaks only Farsi, but he wasn’t worried about representing himself in U.S. immigration court. He believed the details of his asylum claim spoke for themselves. Mohammad was a university professor, teaching human rights courses in Afghanistan before he fled for the United States. Mohammad is also Hazara, an ethnic minority long persecuted […]

33 minutes ago

FILE - The hall of historic Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engul...

Associated Press

Residents prepare to return to sites of homes demolished in Lahaina wildfire 7 weeks ago

HONOLULU (AP) — From just outside the burn zone in Lahaina, Jes Claydon can see the ruins of the rental home where she lived for 13 years and raised three children. Little remains recognizable beyond the jars of sea glass that stood outside the front door. On Monday, officials will begin lifting restrictions on entry […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Toddler and 2 adults fatally shot in Florida during argument over dog sale, authorities say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A 3-year-old child and two adults were fatally shot late Saturday at a Florida apartment complex during an apparent dispute over the sale of a dog, authorities said. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief J.D. Stronko told reporters that five people, including the child, had gone to a luxury apartment complex at […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Archbishop Timothy Broglio conducts an Easter Sunday Mass in an empty sanctuary at Basilica ...

Associated Press

Ideological rifts among U.S. bishops are in the spotlight ahead of momentous Vatican meeting

NEW YORK (AP) — Early next month, the Vatican will open an unprecedented gathering of Catholic clergy and laypeople from around the world. The synod is intended to be a collegial, collaborative event, though the agenda includes divisive issues such as the role of women in the church and the inclusion of LGBTQ Catholics. If […]

2 hours ago

Chester Deanes, left, and Ben Phillips hold a photo of the former Pruitt-Igoe housing development i...

Associated Press

Government should pay compensation for secretive Cold War-era testing, St. Louis victims say

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ben Phillips’ childhood memories include basketball games with friends, and neighbors gathering in the summer shade at their St. Louis housing complex. He also remembers watching men in hazmat suits scurry on the roofs of high-rise buildings as a dense material poured into the air. “I remember the mist,” Phillips, now […]

3 hours ago

FILE - The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the distance, Nov. 4, 2020...

Associated Press

The Supreme Court will hear a case with a lot of ‘buts’ & ‘ifs’ over the meaning of ‘and’

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s hard to imagine a less contentious or more innocent word than “and.” But how to interpret that simple conjunction has prompted a Supreme Court on Oct. 2, the first day of its new term. What the justices decide could affect thousands of prison sentences each year. Federal courts across the country […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.

Things to know about a landslide that has destroyed homes in Southern California