Residents remember Station Fire with clean up day

Residents of the Canyonside area of La Crescenta attacked overgrown brush on Saturday morning in an effort to reduce fuel in the event of a future fire. Photos by Steve GOLDSWORTHY


One year after the Station Fire residents in the Canyonside area of La Crescenta gathered to remember the two Los Angeles County firefighters who lost their lives fighting the blaze and to apply lessons learned from the wildfire that cut a path through their mountainside neighborhood.

About 50 people began Saturday morning with a moment of silence for Fire Capt. Tedmund “Ted” Hall, 47, and Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones, 34, who drove off the side of a mountainous road near inmate Camp 16 near Mt. Gleason and lost their lives on Aug. 30, 2009 while taking part in battling the fast moving fire.

After the moment of silence, talk turned to what has been done and what needs to be done in preparing for the next wildfire.

Residents grabbed shovels and rakes and donned work gloves and abatement began.

“Everybody is working together,” said Roger Young of the Crescenta Valley Fire Safe Council.

Young began the council over a year ago with the purpose of bringing awareness to locals of the fire danger and to work with officials and residents on a proactive plan in case of fire. Twenty five days before the Station Fire began Young was part of a Briggs Terrace evacuation drill. That exercise in proactive fire fighting proved to be invaluable when the hills began to burn. In the council’s continuing effort to help residents prepare for the worst a clean up day was planned for Saturday.

Allied Waste Company donated a large bin and residents and volunteers filled it to the top with dried branches and vegetation.

The work went from 8 a.m. to noon and at the end the land was clean, the debris tossed and residents relieved.

A crew from Gothic Landscape helps direct efforts. The company works with fire safe councils throughout the southland to help with abatement efforts according to J. Lopez, forester with the L.A. County Fire Department.