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Improper Brush Clearing and Mudslides

August 13, 1988

As a hillside dweller in a neighborhood with a history of mudslides, I would like to express my feelings as we face another mudslide come winter and the rains.

Each year the Fire Department issues citations to clear brush to hillside homeowners. I understand fully their reasoning and personally am delighted they are so conscientious. However, the individual homeowners do not always read the specifications for clearing hillsides and often hire unskilled and unknowledgeable laborers. The result is a bare-rooted, loose-soil mountainside high above those of us living below.

When I call the Fire Department to tell them of my fears and ask them to please stop issuing such citations, they tell me they are doing their job. It is not their problem that the homeowner did not abide by the printed specifications.

Six years ago, we had a major mudslide due to the homeowner 200 feet above us clearing his mountainside bare-root in July. Just having moved to this country and never having lived in a home with such a view, these people were unaware and insensitive to those of us below. The hillside was not replanted or watered from July to February of that year, at which time the mountain came down upon us with the heavy rains. We had to bear a cost of nearly $50,000 to clear debris, replant and irrigate.

This is 1988 and again the Fire Department issued citations to the homeowners above. Here it is the beginning of August, and there is nothing planted or any signs of watering. Where is the Department of Grading? Why are they so understaffed that they cannot follow up on such problems? Why isn't the Fire Department more sensitive to our problem?

LOIS TRAVALENA

Encino

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