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Residents return to see burned homes in Big Tujunga Canyon

September 1, 2009 |  3:10 pm

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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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