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Residents return to see burned homes in Big Tujunga Canyon

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Hand in hand, they picked their way through the smoky haze, past blackened trees and up a dirt trail blanketed in ash.

Me_kpb8bcncThen they saw it -- their home of nearly 40 years. All that was left were the stone foundations and the fireplace standing tall amid piles of twisted debris. Julie Garcia fell into the arms of her husband, Ernie, and wept.

“It looks like the moon,” Ernie said quietly.

Since at least the 1930s, families like the Garcias have made their homes among the thick forest and jagged peaks of Big Tujunga Canyon.

They weathered brush fires and floods, but nothing like the blaze that stormed through Saturday afternoon.


On Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service began escorting residents in to see what was left of a place they described as a corner of paradise.

Me1_kpb8fsncAbout 50 homes were destroyed in the little isolated communities off Big Tujunga Road.

In that same area, officials said three people were badly burned trying to protect their homes from flames on Saturday.

--Alexandra Zavis in Big Tujunga Canyon

Photos: (top) Julie Garcia, 59, and her daughter Jessi Garcia, 19, hug each other Tuesday after seeing their home gutted by the Station fire that swept through their neighborhood on La Paloma Canyon Road at Vogel Flat in Tujunga. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

(middle) Jane Fontana is overcome with emotion after seeing the destruction caused by the Station fire that swept through her neighborhood in Vogel Flat in Tujunga. Her house survived the fire. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

(bottom) Travis Riner, 25, tries to salvage whatever he can from the charred remains of the home where he had lived for eight years in the 3000 block of Stonyvale Road at Vogel Flat in Tujunga. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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Twitter: Follow @latimescitydesk | @latimesfires

 
Comments () | Archives (6)

The wildflower will be first to start and the place soon will once again be green.

I was fifteen when my family lost its house to fire. It's no consolation to you now, but I promise the cliches are true: time will heal all wounds, and soon you'll simply be grateful for your health. Godspeed healing to you all.

Some time ago I heard that an El Nino was predicted for this winter which means LOTS OF RAIN! If we do get any decent amount of badly needed rain, these areas are going to be a mess from mudslides and possible flooding. Many of these same homeowners may have to be evacuated again so I think I'd try to plan ahead and start doing whatever possible to avoid damage from possible floods and mudslides.

It might be a good idea to leave things packed if they're not needed and start collecting sandbags now!

They have the consolation that their homes were sacrificed to save the kangaroo rat. I think that everyone who lost a home or a loved one to this fire needs to know why.

God, this breaks my heart. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to see your home burned to the ground. My heart goes out to these families.

god bless the firefighters that saved all of our homes.Now i have seen,first hand,what killed all of the dinosaurs,also i have a suggestion for the mayor or governor, or captain of the forestry dept.(cdf)/or the L.A.F.D. My suggestion is this: TO TRAIN VOLUNTEERS TO HELP FIGHT THE FIRE LIKE SOME SORT OF "CRASH COURSE" if you will, . i know i wanted to try to do my part (volunteer) as did alot of my peers.in addition to many of the day laborers in my town were willing to work/fight fires.(for a days pay)which is the least the state could do for their heroic, tireless efforts. all applicants would have to prove they would not become a liability + signing a "release of liability" and crash course completion. please no offense to any latinos /any other race god bless them as well for their hard work and love of their families MOST IMPORTANTLY thank you to all the hereos that fought/are fighting the "station fire". God's speed


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