Crews clear debris basins in Station Fire burn areas

Los Angeles County public works crews were working today to clear storm-clogged debris basins in the Station Fire burn area before the next rain arrives.

Crews working with heavy machinery have been working in 12-hour shifts since Friday morning to clean out the 28 debris basins protecting homes in the foothills, said Bob Spencer of the county Department of Public Works.

``All (28) of them have debris in varying degrees. Our focus is on getting to the smaller ones in the La Canada/Flintridge, La Puente areas,'' Spencer said. ``It'll take weeks to clear them all out to zero. Even the smaller basins have a capacity of about 10,000 cubic yards of material. They're basically filled. It'll take weeks.''

Spencer said he wasn't so much worried about the rain scheduled to arrive late Monday or Tuesday, but a larger storm more than a week away.

``Tuesday's rain, at the moment, is not going to cause any big problems. We're looking for next week (next Tuesday) -- but that doesn't appear to be as heavy as what we went through right now,'' he said.

The major roads traversing the Angeles National Forest remain closed.

``They have a lot of debris on the (Angeles National Forest) roads, and we have to go back to see if there has to be any repairs,'' he said. ``They're going to remain closed for a few days yet.''

Up to 2,100 foothill homes were evacuated at some point this past week, because authorities feared people might be swept up in a mudslide. Despite more than 6 inches of rain in most foothill areas, no major slides occurred.