LA CRESCENTA — Foothill residents stacked sandbags Monday, feverishly preparing against potential mudslides brought on by forecasted heavy rain this week in the Station fire burn areas.
Light rain began to fall Monday afternoon, and is expected to dump up to 4 inches of rain by Wednesday over the fire’s affected burn areas, said meteorologist Jamie Meier of the National Weather Service. Heavy rain was anticipated about midnight tonight and is expected to taper off throughout the day and evening. The latest storm was expected to bring strong winds from the south, she said, and winds from 20 to 30 mph are predicted to blow through the foothills. The weather service has already issued high-wind watches for the mountains.
“The combination of the two will make it pretty miserable,” Meier said.
Rain has been a concern for residents, as well as for city and county officials, in the aftermath of the Station fire because the threat of debris flows was believed to be high.
“Unfortunately, I think it’s substantiated,” Meier said of weather worries.
Glendale Water & Power, Los Angeles County Public Works and Glendale and county fire departments were patrolling neighborhoods Monday, making sure residents were ready for the storm.
A number of residents, who live near the burn areas, said they began preparing themselves for rainstorms in the weeks since the fire ceased being an immediate threat.
They also said they attended community meetings as late as last week regarding the winter storms and the potential for debris flows.
Several homeowners drove around La Crescenta and north Glendale on Monday morning searching for sandbags to place outside their homes.
North Glendale resident Sabin Silberman started putting sandbags around his home two weeks ago.
He bought his home five years ago and purchased flood insurance last week. Unfortunately, he said, the coverage will not become effective until mid-November.
“I am really concerned,” Silberman said, adding he was surprised about having to deal with the issue so soon after the fire.
Steve Pierce, Crescenta Valley Town Council president, worked frantically Monday to get sand from the county, and to secure discounts on sandbags for foothill residents.
“Everybody seems to be wanting to get [the sandbags] in place,” he said.
Pierce organized a sand pick-up at Two Strike Park on Rosemont Avenue, asking residents to bring their own bags and shovels.
“I think all of us here are now facing the reality of it,” he said.
County Public Works and Glendale Public Works installed K-rails — large concrete blocks — along several foothill neighborhoods in preparation for the storms.
The K-rails are supposed to direct mud and debris away from homes and onto streets.
County officials said the K-rails will remain in place for three to five years until the threat of debris flows has subsided.
The installation brought back bad memories for Joy and Mike Padula, who have seen flooding in their North Glendale neighborhood several times since they moved there in 1986.
The couple hope that the K-rails work as planned, and that the blocks protect their Markridge Road home.
“It’s hard to tell, but you are hoping they know what they are doing,” Joy Padula said.
The K-rails didn’t bother La Crescenta resident Dennis Taylor, whose home was seriously damaged in a 1978 mudslide.
Mud and debris went through his front door, courtyard and living room, he said. The loose mud and debris, Taylor said, was the result of a fire in 1975.
“It wiped us out,” he said. “We had no protection at that time.”
This time, Taylor has planned to double up his efforts to protect his home.
County crews installed two K-rails in front of Taylor’s home entrance at Pine Glen and Pine Ridge roads. Another eight line the corner of both streets.
Taylor also planned to border up his front door with plywood.