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Naturalists prepare for mudslides at Glendale's Deukmejian Park

October 13, 2009 | 12:26 pm

Glendale park naturalists are expecting some mudslides this evening in Deukmejian Park, which was badly burned in the Station fire, as heavy rains are expected to drench Southern California.

“I’m sure we’re going to get some mudflow out there tonight and tomorrow,” said Eric Grossman, a naturalist who has worked at the 712-acre park for 14 years."We always get mudflow out of the park when it rains because of the area.”

Yet the Station fire that started in August in the Angeles National Forest and spread to foothill communities, including Glendale, caused a “complete burn” said Russ Hauck, a senior park naturalist who has worked for the city for 17 years.

“There is no vegetation left to hold back any soil," Hauck said. "In a normal rain year, we have slides. Now we have rain without the benefit of vegetation. “We’re anticipating that we’ll definitely get some sort of slide.”

The last time the park was seriously burned was in 1975 during the Mills fire, making the ash level from the Station fire considerable, Grossman said.

“We’ve never experienced this much damage in the park, so we’ll just have to see," he said. "Now we’re looking at a completely different scenario. We’re looking at hillsides that no longer have vegetation.”

Another concern is the historic Le Mesnager Barn, a stone structure at the center of open space in the park. Built between 1914 and 1918, the stone has withstood the most damaging disasters the area has seen, including a 1934 flood and mudslides in 1978 that followed the Mills fire.

-- Baxter Holmes

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