Burbank Fire Chief Tracy Pansini told the City Council Tuesday during
an overview of the four-day fire. "It may be sleeping, it may be
dormant but the ground is going to hold heat up to two weeks."
The department's concerns were realized late Thursday morning when
a hotspot flared up in an area above the Stough Canyon Nature Center.
"This is going to be happening," Burbank Fire Capt. Ron Bell said
of the Thursday flare-up, which was doused immediately. "The hotspot
found some unburned fuel. We don't expect this will go anywhere."
Burbank had one engine on the Stough Canyon side of the mountains
and Los Angeles City Fire Department had equipment on the La Tuna
Canyon side of the mountain, Bell said.
More than 1,000 acres were burned in the Verdugo Mountains by the
fire that broke out in the late afternoon of Sept. 29 in the luau
grounds of the Castaway Restaurant near the De Bell Golf Course. The
cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Up to 1,400 firefighters, some from as far away as Riverside and
Kern counties and the city of Santa Barbara, fought the blaze that
spread through Stough and Wildwood canyons, threatened communication
towers on the mountain ridge and caused an evacuation of up to 70
homes along Country Club Drive in Sunset Canyon. The evacuation order
was rescinded Sunday morning.
With the fire contained, the focus of the city is on potential
erosion on the denuded mountain slopes from winter rains.
"We're hoping for a dry winter but planning for the worst,"
interim Public Works Director Bonnie Teaford said.
The city is working with Los Angeles County to inspect and clean
out debris basins that are designed to capture the flow out of the
mountains, settle out the heavy material and let the water continue
through, Teaford said.
The three largest debris basins in the city are owned by the
"We're also coordinating with the county on channelization and
other controls we may have to implement," Teaford said.
At John Muir Middle School, life returned to normal after playing
host to the firefighters who battled the blaze. The school's athletic
fields became home as tents and portable kitchen units were set up.
Of the four days the firefighters camped out at the school, Muir
Principal Dan Hacking described the scene as a tale of two campuses,
with the firefighters taking over the lower fields and students and
staff in the buildings.
"It was remarkable how little chaos there was," Hacking said.