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Light rainfall prevented another disaster

But officials caution residents to clear away wind debris before next rain.

December 14, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

Having dodged a bullet when this week’s rainfall was not as heavy as anticipated, officials continue to call on La Cañada Flintridge residents to clear away yard waste and debris generated by the recent windstorm before more rain arrives.

The city helped advertise county-sponsored green waste disposal opportunities last weekend in anticipation of Monday’s rain, said Kevin Chun, director of administrative services.

“We did make preparations in anticipation of the rains, but as it turns out, the rains were uneventful for us,” Chun said. “We are still advising our residents to handle their own green waste in the proper way.”

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City public works crews have been working overtime to clear away all debris generated by the windstorm, he said.

“It was very messy,” Chun said. “There were a number of trees that were down all over the city. That was both city trees and private-property trees. Branches and leaves were everywhere.”

The windstorm and subsequent power outage was the latest in a string of incidents that should serve as reminders of the importance of emergency planning, officials said.

“Residents need to be as prepared as possible for any kind of emergency or disaster situation, to have some type of plan in place for both supplies and how to handle their personal situation with family and such,” Chun said.

Keeping yards, streets and flood-control channels clear during winter is especially important in La Cañada, which is still at risk for debris flows as Angeles National Forest, which lines the city’s northern borders, continues to recover from the 2009 Station fire, Chun added.

“In the aftermath of the fire, [geology experts] came and did an assessment of the watershed and they were the ones who advised us that we will be living with this situation for the next three to five years,” Chun said. “Based on that information, we are still making preparations during the rainy season for debris flows.”

Pat Anderson, the president and chief executive of the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce, and whose home in the upper Ocean View area was heavily damaged by debris flow in 2010, said her neighborhood is in good shape following the recent windstorm and this week’s rainfall.

“Aside from a little mud, it’s looking good here,” she said. “To me, a few pine needles are not a big deal.”

Anderson gave high marks to the local trash-hauling companies, who agreed to haul away debris left behind by the recent winds, even in cases where a homeowner’s assigned trash bins are already overflowing. But she emphasized the importance of homeowners taking responsibility for protecting their properties.

“Following any kind of weather incident, it’s good to take a close look all around your property to make sure it is safe and secure,” she said.

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