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Life and Arts

La Cañada History: 2009 Station fire threatens LCF homes, forces evacuations

The Station Fire as seen from Starlight Crest.
Firefighters keep an eye on the Station fire as it burns above the Starlight Crest neighborhood of La Cañada Flintridge in late August 2009.
(File Photo/Valley Sun)

Ten Years Ago

Although the massive Station fire that began Aug. 26, 2009 in the Angeles National Forest just above La Cañada Flintridge threatened homes and forced evacuations here during its first couple of days, it had moved on with no LCF homes burned, ultimately devouring more than 200 homes and commercial buildings in other communities.

“It was like Vesuvius right in your backyard. Ash was pouring everywhere. School was cancelled — it was bad.” – former La Cañada City Councilman Steve Del Guercio on the 2009 Station fire

Two Los Angeles County firefighters perished in the ANF on Aug. 30, the fourth day of the conflagration. More than 250 square miles were destroyed before the fire was deemed contained on Oct. 16, 2009. But La Cañada had not escaped serious damages entirely, as winter mudslides devastated some local fire-affected neighborhoods just a few months later.

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Twenty Years Ago

The newly constructed turnabout serving the La Cañada High School 7/8 small schools was ready in time for the first day of school in late summer 1999. Reached via the access road of Foothill Boulevard near the St. Francis High School football field, the new turnabout allowed parents to drop off and pick up their children curbside without having to join traffic along Oak Grove Drive.

Thirty Years Ago

It was announced that the La Cañada Flintridge public library would be closed on Thursdays for an indefinite period so staff and volunteers could spend those days preparing for a new automated circulation system that employed bar codes. Once the new system was in place, no longer would patrons sign their names on an index-sized card to check out library materials.

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Forty Years Ago

In a foreshadow of current efforts, in August 1979 La Cañada parents whose homes were outside the boundaries of the La Cañada School District petitioned the Los Angeles County Committee on School Reorganization so their children could leave Glendale Unified schools and attend campuses in La Cañada Unified. The so-called “Sagebrush” parents involved in the movement that year had hoped to simply transfer their children into LCUSD but could not get the blessings of GUSD.

Fifty Years Ago

California Gov. Ronald Reagan signed into law a landmark bill written by state Assemblyman Frank D. Lanterman (R-La Cañada) that reformed the state’s existing programs for the developmentally delayed. Among its provisions was the establishment of regional treatment centers for diagnosis and counseling.

Sixty Years Ago

Gilbert Smith, already known to countless La Cañada children as “Smitty,” a well-liked coach in softball and Little League, was named director of the La Cañada Youth House on Chevy Chase Drive, today known as the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge.

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