Tag Archives: La Tuna Fire

City to Move K-Rails into Burbank Hills to Prevent Mudslides

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The La Tuna Fire has left a potential threat to our hillside community in Burbank. With much of the vegetation along the hills gone, and the rainy season fast approaching, Burbank city officials have negotiated a deal in which the city has received two miles of K-rails from the city of Glendora

Glendora purchased the large of amount of k-rails using grant money from the Federal Agency of Natural Conservation as a response to the Colby Fire four years ago. For the entirety of the four-year duration, the K-rails were used to line the curbs in neighborhoods to prevent damage from mudslides. However, while the k-rails were put in place, residents were not allowed to park on the street.

However, according to Emergency Management Coordinator, Eric Baumgardner, this won’t be the case for residents in the Burbank hills as there are currently no plans to place the K-rails directly in neighborhoods. Furthermore, the city of Burbank will not incur any costs for receiving the two miles of K-rails from the City of Glendora, other than its transportation to Burbank.

The deal works out for both cities as Glendora had no further use for the K-rails. Rather than storing them, which would cost them money, or recycling them, which would also cost them money, Glendora opted to share with their neighbors.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

As of right now, current models project no imminent danger to surrounding neighborhoods of the La Tuna Fire. The K-rails will be deployed to project water tanks and other city infrastructure. As for the remaining K-rails, they will be stored near the Starlight Bowl.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

When the rain storms do arrive, new projections will be made to assess whether or not the neighborhood homes are in danger. According to Baumgardner, the threat mudslides pose could last anywhere between 3-5 years. With that in mind, should K-rails need to be placed in neighborhoods, they will most likely remain in the neighborhood for that length of time. Furthermore, because the k-rails weigh around 8,000 pounds, the city must use expensive heavy machinery in order to place or remove K-rails. In this sense, if only a small number of K-rails are deployed to a neighborhood, then it is more likely that they will be removed after the rain season.


Stough Canyon Nature Center Recovers After La Tuna Fire


(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Stough Canyon hiking trails, located near the Nature Center, suffered major losses to its vegetation and its sense of peace after the devastating La Tuna fire. Many avid hikers have had many questions regarding Burbank’s beloved hiking trails.


Now that the trails are open, Burbank’s Parks and Recreation team is ready to bounce back to begin work on returning the Nature Center and the Stough Canyon Hiking Trails back to normal. According to Marisa Garcia, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation, the destructive fire came within thirty feet of the Nature Center. Much of the vegetation around the hiking trail is now gone.

“I was profoundly sad to see that my beloved Stough Canyon was so severely impacted by the fire,” said Kathy Sturdevant, an avid hiker of the Stough Canyon trails and California plant enthusiast. She went on to say that she’s “grateful that the nature center and the educational garden that surrounds it were spared, however, the images of the barren, scorched hillsides remain in my mind.  I felt such solace and peace in those hills, retreating there weekly to unwind from work.”

The fire has also left some of the foundation in a questionable state. While the trails are open right now, citizens should expect closures in the near future. Garcia elaborated on the future of the trails by revealing a closure is imminent for the purpose of maintenance. Furthermore, any time there is rain, the trails will be closed.

Photo By: Kelsie Hernandez

Garcia also stated that the Parks and Recreation department is building a committee of representatives from the department of Public Works and the Fire Department to discuss Stough Canyon recovery efforts, fire prevention, and preparation for rain. The City of Burbank does not have have a trails expert. Instead, to fill that void, the city is reaching out to other experts belonging to the Santa Monica Mountain Conservatory in the hopes of providing guidance on protocol on replanting procedures.

Garcia made note that anything replanted in the area will be native to our environment. Sturdevant, who has accumulated a wealth of knowledge in the subject, suggests “it will take some time for Stough to recover, but we need to be patient and let it recover on its own.  Our place is not to plant, but to allow it to regenerate itself, and perhaps help it along by removing the invasive species and as they come back as well and compete with the native plants.”

Greg Rubin, President and Founder of California’s Own Native Landscape Design, Inc., agrees with Sturdevant and suggests that it’s “better to devote the resources to controlling exotics and utilizing low impact erosion control. The worst scenario is to seed after fires – even if it is a “native” mix, inevitably the small percentage of exotic contaminants (like rye grass) will come to dominate these areas and actually contribute to worse erosion than if nothing had been done at all.”

Furthermore, Richard W. Hasley, Director of the California Chaparral Institute, states that “as long as fire is kept out of the area for at least 20-30 years, the system will recover ON ITS OWN without any need for human intervention. No plantings, no seeding, no tree planting, no mulching. Leave it alone. We’ve done enough damage through our clearance activities, development, and increased fire frequencies due to human-caused ignitions.”

Photo By: Kelsie Hernandez


As for what the public can do to help, always wear appropriate attire when visiting the trails, pick up any trash you see, don’t hike when it’s raining, don’t cross closure signs, let the city know when something along the trail is unstable, and never hike in the dark.

Burbank Gets Through Worst Brush Fire in Over 30 Years

Burbank’s hillsides had not had a serious brush fire in decades until this past weekend when one started near the 210 Freeway quickly escalated.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

City fire engines were first dispatched to the original fire but after a while when it became apparent that the fire may crest the hills and come toward Burbank, they returned to protect their home town.

While the first started at about 1:30 p.m. Friday, it was not until 4:51 in the afternoon that it started to be of enough of a concern that the first brush assignment was dispatched in Burbank.

Units positioned themselves up near Brace Park and Country Club Drive and started the long wait for the fire to crest the hills and start down toward Burbank homes.

Once the fire’s path was imminent, Burbank fire officials gave mandatory orders to everyone basically above Brace Canyon Park all the way over to the Cabrini Villas. The area included all of the private housing off of Castleman Lane.

Burbank police officers began the task of going door to door to advise residents of the mandatory evacuation. They recorded all addresses checked and advised residents. They kept track of each decision because they could not physically force a resident to evacuate. The City of Burbank and the Red Cross set up an evacuation center at McCambridge Recreation Center. About 10 residents were there around midnight.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

During the night, the first concern was the Stough Canyon Nature Center. Firefighters worked hard to protect the structure from the fire. It is unknown how much damage has been done to the trails near there.

As soon as the battle was engaged, the fight to save homes on the hill began. Engines and firefighters from all around Southern California were part of the unified command that was run in the Burbank area by the Burbank Fire Command Staff.

Los Angeles City Helicopters, who only fly at night in extreme emergencies, made water drops all night as the main focus of the fire turned to Burbank. Listening to the pilots on their radio, there was a calm, but confident demeanor as they systematically hit hot spot after hot spot.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

As dawn broke, the houses on the hill were still safe. Firefighters continued to man the streets around the hillside. Firefighters made a series of drops of Phos-Chek fire retardant from Brace Canyon all the way to La Tuna Canyon which helped stop the spread of fire.

Some firefighters were replaced by others after working as many as 36 hours straight in heat over 100 degrees.  Many residents brought water, Gatorade and even ordered up pizzas for firefighters and brought them to the city’s main fire station on Orange Grove.  In fact, there were so many donations from grateful residents that the fire department put up a sign saying that no more donations would be needed.

Officials from the Los Angeles Fire Department have estimate the acres burned at about 5,800 as of 10 p.m. Saturday and as little as of 10 percent of the fire area has been contained.

As of 10 p.m. Saturday evening, fire officials lifted the mandatory curfew and let only residents and members of the media into the fire zone.  Those returning had to show proof of residency.

Fire engines will be standing by in the area for the next couple of days to protect against flare-ups.

Photographers – Professional and Amateur – Cover La Tuna Fire

First, from our Chief Photographer Ross A. Benson:


and from another of our photographers, Edward Tovmassian:

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian


@myBurbankNEWS, view from my living room not that long ago. So much respect for the firefighters protecting us, especially in this heat??

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JackieHReid's avatar

@myBurbankNEWS view from balcony on Grismer Ave. Burbank


Hey @myBurbankNEWS here’s a pic of the fire on two fronts as seen by Memorial Field

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Stopped for ice cream and could see the flames from the #BurbankFire 5 miles away. Yipes. @myBurbankNEWS

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Update from Burbank side, which actually covers so much more of the ridge than this pic shows?

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