Burbank debris basin cleared after La Tuna Fire to make way for mud

BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- The La Tuna Fire last month ate up all the vegetation surrounding hundreds of homes in Burbank, leaving behind barren hillsides.

"There's no longer any substructure to hold the soil and debris from coming down so once we even get light rains, you'll see a lot of this debris and sediment start moving downstream as mud flows," said Christopher Stone, the Assistant Director of Los Angeles County Public Works.

LA.County Public Works has spent the past few weeks inspecting debris basins and clearing sediment in the burn area. It's not a question of whether heavy rains will cause mud to move, but rather if the existing debris basins will catch the mud before it can spill over into neighborhoods.

"I'm very confident that we will survive it. I'm very, very confident because the county prepared this particular basin to the best way they humanly can," said Burbank resident Joseph Gearhart.

The fire came right up to Gearhart's backyard. After his house survived that, he's not worried about rain. Neighbor Chris Van Buren feels the same.

"Sandbags are going to be the number-one thing. Luckily I have a pretty big brick wall around my property so that's a good safety measure right there," said Van Buren.

Public works said although the landscape was completely changed by the fire, they're confident in the storm control system that has existed for the last hundred years.

The LA County Department of Public Works has an online resource to educate homeowners on how to protect themselves from mud and debris flow.
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