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Station Fire K-rails moving out of La Crescenta

Concrete barriers, known as K-rails, and sandbags are shown in front of a home in La Canada Flintridge in this February 2010 photo.
June 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's been three years since the Station Fire raged through the foothills, and the concrete K-rails are finally coming down in some hillside communities this weekend.

One-hundred sections of the K-rails were left in place to divert potential mud and debris flows and help channel everything into the road and away from homes and yards.

"The big thing following a fire is, there's nothing to hold the soil or debris or boulders up there in the mountains, and it can easily get washed down during pretty heavy rain storms," said Bob Spencer, public affairs chief for the L.A. County Department of Public Works.

Lupe Gonzales and his son decided to make the best of what he calls an eyesore and felt safer having them there. But he says he's eager to have more gardening space back.

"Three years later, you overstay your welcome, because everything has grown back and Mother Nature is back doing her job and things like this, gotta go," said Gonzalez.

And up the road, Terry Dowart has been climbing over the K-rail outside his home for three years. He says they were an inconvenience, taking away parking space, and even lowering property values.

"You have company, parking is a commodity. You have to ask the neighbors, 'Can we park in your driveway?' 'How many cars?' '20!' I'm just kidding, but it's a hassle. It gives security, but it's time for it to go away," said Dowart.

Most of them will be cleared out this weekend, but public works employees will be back the following two weekends to finish the job and clean everything up.

The Station Fire, the largest wildfire in Los Angeles County history, started in the Angeles National Forest in August of 2009. Two firefighters died, 89 homes were destroyed and 160,000 acres burned.


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