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Burn-area residents wary of expected rainstorm

December 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Two incoming storms, the first expected to arrive Sunday, have burn-area residents worried about too much rain.At the corner of Bosson Avenue and Markridge Road, residents are not taking any chances. They have K Rails set up along the curve and stacked up sandbags in front of the front gates. They're worried because the hillside is stripped of vegetation and a storm is on the way.

The sun is shining and the sky is clear but a dumpster full of sand is a popular stop in the foothills of La Crescenta.

Bill, a La Crescenta resident who didn't want to use his last name, filled up sandbags he'll use to set up a line of defense around his parent's house.

"I got 20 nylon bags at the hardware store because they're out of them here, and the nylons I think are better," Bill described.

Sandbags are a common sight along with K Rails in the neighborhoods below the San Gabriel Mountains where the station fire burned off hundreds of square miles of vegetation.

"The citizens in the area are quite prepared, but we want to make sure and reassure the fact that we're going to provide safety first and evacuate when we need to," said Battalion Chief Mike Brown.

This is why residents and emergency officials are so concerned. Just a half hour of rain in November caused major debris flows in the foothill communities. Dozens of debris basins throughout the burn areas, the first line of defense against mudslides, were inundated. Brown said the storm expected to hit next week could bring four days worth of rain and dangerous mudslides

"It can get high level of debris flow in the backyards and could very well extend into the house and garage area. Of course, with the grounds being saturated there's always that potential for later debris flow coming down the mountainsides," Brown said.

Residents are trying to make the best out of the unsightly barricades, but they're bracing for trouble that will stretch far past the holidays.

Experts say five to six years is how long it will take for the vegetation on the hillside to fully grow back. In the meantime, the fire department is asking residents to stay alert to watch the weather forecast and evacuate if told to.


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