The Crescenta Valley Fire Safe Council sponsored Clean Up day was in full swing early this morning. Members of the council began arriving at about 6 a.m., community member and neighbor volunteers were there an hour later and the clean up began.
Volunteers with hats, gloves and clippers helped local residents clear dry vegetation from the hillsides and from some preselected homes.
“[Our goal] is to reduce hazardous fuel, to memorialize the two firefighters that died in the [Station Fire] Capt. Ted Hall and [firefighter Specialist] Arnie Quinones,” said Roger Young, president of CVFSC. “And to build community.”
The clearing of the dried vegetation helps firefighters when battling fires. Young added by clearing the dried brush they make it safer for the firefighters and perhaps the type of tragedy that occurred during the Station Fire could be avoided.
The council also wanted to educate to community on the importance of abatement and how working together a job that seemed too large for one person becomes possible with help.
The council had done this last year in the Canyonside area.
“This year we were more specific in [cleaning areas],” said Janet Blake, council member.
Crews targeted homes where the residents were unable to clear the brush themselves. Several elderly residents were helped in clearing the brush around their homes.
Blake told of one woman who had lived in her home for over 50 years. Her husband had recently passed away and she was unable to clear the brush. The crews came in and pulled, dragged and chopped the dry vegetation.
Allied Waste provided two large bins for the debris and volunteers with trucks hauled the vegetation.
Along the side of the canyon, near Phyllis Street, crews pulled out piles of dried and fallen trees along with weeds.
“We are careful to keep the native plants here to help with erosion but we cleared a lot,” said Judy Turner, member and chair for the event.
The vegetation was right up to homeowners’ property but was not the resident’s responsibility to clear.
“If you look at it prior to [us beginning] it was overwhelming for one person,” Turner said.
The crew made great progress as they continued up the side of the hill. A representative from Anderson Tree walked the neighborhood with homeowners identifying specific trees and giving estimates on what it would cost if they had to be trimmed or cut.
“Last year [during the Canyonside clean] they did this too and several homeowners gathered together to have Andersons come and take care of their trees. They sent one truck and it saved [homeowners] some money,” Turner said.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works have given the council information on what trees need what type of permits, specifically oak trees.
There are strict guidelines concerning oak trees but many times it is difficult to find the correct County office that would handle specific questions.
“We have that contact and information on trees,” Turner said.
She added the County has not allowed the Council to release the information via their website however if residents have questions they can contact the CVFSC and get information.
The Clean Up will end at noon. The CV Fire Safe Council has brochures and information at a booth on Briggs Terrace if anyone has any questions. To contact the Council, call Roger Young at (818) 249-8446.