I’ve had occasion to be in the Sunland-Tujunga area a few times lately and decided to take a drive through the La Tuna Canyon Wildfire Burn Zone on the way back. Four months after the La Tuna Canyon wildfire, it still presents an erie scene.
The La Tuna Canyon fire consumed more than 7000 acres in early September resulting in the closure of the 210 freeway and mandatory evacuation orders in parts of Glendale, Burbank and the Sunland-Tujunga areas. It destroyed 5 homes, 5 outbuildings and resulted in 10 injuries, but fortunately no deaths. I believe it was the rest of several devastating wildfires to hit the greater Los Angeles area.
Then heavy rains brought the mudslides on January 9th. Fast moving muddy waters rushed through the canyons and several cars were trapped/destroyed by the mudslides including a police cruiser. Mandatory evacuations orders had been issued and reports said that La Tuna Canyon road was under 1.5 feet of mud.
Between the fires that burned all of the brush and most of the trees, followed by the mudslides that wiped the debris away, the mountains in the canyon were for the most lacking any foliage at all. The fight of some birds the appeared during my visit seemed “odd”. They swept slowly back and forth across the terrain, over and over as if surveying the damage to their home.
I was also stunned to see just how close the fire came to the main residential area on the south end of the canyon. One home on the side of the hill in the canyon still had green trees around it and was intact, but was completely surrounded by the burn zone.
I’ll close this with the final observation. Along the sides of the road with the charred wooden road posts grass is starting to grow. Likewise on the side of a burned out hill where new growth is appearing among the burned brush.