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3 debris catch basins in fire-stripped foothills near capacity

January 20, 2010 |  3:05 pm

The number of debris catch basins nearing capacity in the fire-stripped foothill communities of La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta rose to three today, potentially threatening more homes, Los Angeles County flood control officials said.

“It is possible that with this much precipitation, debris and water will go over the tops,” said Los Angeles County Department of Public Works spokesman Bob Spencer.

However, efforts to remove the gunk from those and other basins came to a halt today with the arrival of heavy rain.

“It’s much too dangerous for our crews right now. So far there have been no major incidents,” Spencer said. “We are ready to respond within minutes to any community.”

On Monday, the Mullally catch basin perched over La Cañada Flintridge filled to capacity, contributing to the evacuation orders for more than 400 homes today. By 2 p.m. today, officials said two additional basins – Harter and Starfall – were also nearing capacity.

The rest of the county’s roughly 30 catch basins in burn zones on the southern flanks of the San Gabriel Mountains “are running from 40% to 80% full,” Spencer said.

-- Louis Sahagun in La Cañada Flintridge