Foothill residents watching the rainy skies

GLENDALE — City officials geared up this afternoon for the long and rainy night ahead, making sure sand was available to residents in the burn areas, reinforcing K-rails on streets and activating an information system for residents.

The city activated its Emergency Operations Center today, amid National Weather Service warnings of moderate to severe weather conditions for Glendale, La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge beginning today and lasting until Thursday. Residents in the foothill areas of the three cities are facing the threat of debris flows and flooding as result of the massive Station fire.

“The city has been working around the clock to try to minimize and mitigate flooding and property damage,” Glendale Fire Capt. Vincent Rifino said.

More than a quarter-inch of rain within 15 minutes, an 1 ½ inch of rain in three hours or a continual flow of light rain for 12 hours would trigger city officials to activate the notification system, which will advise residents in the burn areas to evacuate , Rifino said.

In such an event, the Glendale Civic Auditorium will become an emergency shelter, he said.

Glendale fire, police and Public Works personnel will be patrolling the foothill areas tonight, he said, watching debris and flood channels for blockage.

Glendale Public Works dumped approximately 8,000 pounds of sand this morning at Dunsmore Park, and provided bags for residents looking to protect their homes from the effects of the downpour, he said. In addition, Rifino said, the city’s Public Works has dropped off 24,000 pounds of sand at Dunsmore Canyon in the past three days.

Empty sandbags are also available at all Glendale Fire stations.

City officials were trying to ensure Glenoaks Canyon residents were also prepared for the storm and possible debris flows.

“That potential is there,” Rifino said. “Everything was moon-scape on the Glendale side and then we have homes in that canyon that have that potential of getting damaged.”

The Station fire was not the only recent fire to cause mudslide concerns. The Freeway fire blackened 60 acres of steep terrain Aug. 4 in Glenoaks Canyon and came dangerously close to homes.

Filled sandbags were available Glen Ivy and Waltonia drives for residents in that area, he said.

City officials didn’t expect rain would come this soon, but they began preparing for winter storms before the Station Fire ended, Rifino said.

“They city has been definitely gearing up for this,” he said.

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