Rain triggers minor mud flow in Colby Fire burn area

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Rain triggers minor mud flow in Azusa and Glendora
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Rain has triggered minor mud flow in Azusa and Glendora on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016.

AZUSA, Calif. (KABC) -- Steady rain fell over the Colby Fire burn area, triggering some minor mud flows on Tuesday.

Last year during heavy rains, hillsides left barren from the 2014 blaze came tumbling down into the backyards and the homes in the Azusa community. Residents fear the same might happen again with this round of El Nino-powered storms.

Edward Heinlein has lived in Azusa for 14 years and says he has experienced more mudslides than he's comfortable with.

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"Four mudslides in two years, more than 20,000 tons of mud," Heinlein said. "Unfortunately, I bought a house that's in the path of the main destruction."

He says he's put a lot of work into his property.

"We've reinforced this all with concrete. Steel posts go two feet into the ground," Heinlein described.

Last October, rain triggered another mudflow, sending water gushing over his retaining walls.

Now, those same wooden retaining walls are holding at least a couple feet of water at bay. If the rain persists, that water will overflow from Heinlein's basketball court into his backyard.

"We've evacuated probably six, seven, eight, nine times. We're sort of used to it. You pack all your stuff, you have your 'get out' bag, you get ready to run and you go where you've got to go," said Heinlein's wife, Amanda Heinlein.

The Heinleins jokingly call themselves pros at evacuating. They're already packed and their home is already prepped. Residents lined their properties with sandbags, K-rails and retaining walls to protect their homes.

No evacuations are underway, but the Colby Fire burn area remains under a yellow alert, which means parking restrictions are in effect, and residents are urged to keep trash cans out of the streets.

Glendora Ridge Road was shut down between Glendora Mountain and Mt. Baldy roads as a precaution ahead of heavy rain.

Glendora Ridge Road between Glendora Mountain and Mt. Baldy roads has been closed as a precautionary measure. No other roads were closed and no entries into neighborhoods were restricted.

The burn area includes all properties north of Sierra Madre between the wester city boundaries of Azusa and Glendora to the eastern boundary of properties on the west side of the Little Dalton Wash.

Sandbags are available for residents at the Glendora City Yard, 440 S. Loraine Ave.

Forecasters say Tuesday could see a total of 1 to 2 inches of rain in the area, along with moments of intense rainfall that could produce up to 1/2 inch of rain per hour. More rain is expected to fall Wednesday through Friday, which could produce approximately 1 more inch of rain.

City officials said changing weather conditions could lead to upgrading the yellow alert status.

"We're asking residents to be alert and monitor their own conditions, listen to weather updates and forecasts, make sure they have a plan in place with their emergency kit, talk to their neighbors in case they're asked to evacuate so that everybody stays safe," said Bob Spencer with the Los Angeles County Public Works Department.

For more information about alert levels, visit www.cityofglendora.org/colbyfire. You can also get tips on how to properly fill and place sandbags at www.ladpw.org/wmd/HomeOwners/sandbags.cfm.

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