More rain predicted for LA County this weekend; Post-fire erosion costs mounting

A storm this weekend could bring 2 inches of rain or more to Los Angeles County mountains denuded by last year's 250-square-mile Station Fire.

But just one of 30 key debris basins and structures that protect neighborhoods below the burn area was considered 100 percent cleaned out as of this morning.

"It looks like another wet weekend," National Weather Service Meteorologist Rich Thompson said early today. "Friday night into Saturday, we could get a half-inch at lower elevations and up to 2 inches or more in the mountains, with lingering showers into Sunday."

Before storms passed through the Southland last weekend, at least a dozen of 30 key structures in mountainside communities were listed as 100 percent cleared.

But the rains undid all the work a small army of bulldozer and truck drivers had done. By last Saturday when heavy rains ended, many of the cleaned-out basins were once again filled or partly filled with mud, rock and tree limbs.

As of early today, the Pinelawn Debris Basin high in La Crescenta was the only erosion protection structure listed as 100 percent cleared in the county's Debris Basin Cleanout Master Schedule.

If rain and runoff exceed the catch basins' capacity, it could lead to a repeat of what happened Feb. 6 in the Paradise Valley neighborhood of La Canada Flintridge.

Boulders plugged Mullally Debris Basin and part of the mountain crashed into homes, tossing vehicles and multi-ton concrete barriers. One erosion expert said it was "a miracle" that no one was seriously injured or killed.

Post-fire erosion costs for Los Angeles County are mounting, and county leaders are pursuing plans to get the federal government to help pick up the bill.