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Mudslide danger remains in foothill areas

December 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The storm has passed and the Southland is drying out, but the danger remains in foothill neighborhoods near the Station Fire burn area because the soggy slopes could still give way. Saturation levels are the big concern.

At the Mullally debris basin, workers are cleaning up and clearing out as much runoff as they can, getting ready for another possible round of wet weather at the end of the week.

The rain has stopped, but the charred hillsides are soaked with water, authorities say they could give way at any time.

"We're not out of the woods at all due to the fact that we have seen slides, historically, happen three to five days after the rain has occurred," said L.A. County Fire Capt. Frank Garrido.

Garrido said crews will continue to patrol the La Crescenta and La Canada Flintridge area.

While residents like the growth on the fire-ravaged hillsides, officials say it will be five to seven years before the forest will be able to hold the material in place. Until that happens, residents below will be in harm's way.

For now, all of the roads are clear, and there was really no muddy runoff throughout the storm at all. More than 200 residents had evacuated from below the Station Fire burn area.

Authorities said the catch basins did a great job with the runoff, and Public Works crews say most of the catch basins are only between 5 to 20 percent full.

All evacuation orders were lifted on Wednesday night.

Thursday evening, acting California Governor Abel Maldonado declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County due to the weather. The declaration expedites state money to assist repairs.

While things remained clean in La Crescenta and La Canada Flintridge, Sierra Madre was a different story, with muddy runoff and debris flowing into the streets.

There were no major problems or damage, and the area has since been cleaned.


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