Mudslide strikes home in California area that saw wildfire this year

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 21, 2014 2:30 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A mudslide slammed into a house in a Southern California suburb on Friday where wildfires had left hilly terrain barren of trees and brush, prompting authorities to warn residents that more such landslides were likely in the near future.

The mudslide in Glendora occurred before dawn, overtopping a retaining wall the owners of the house built in their backyard and leaving a 4-foot-tall pile of mud resting against the back of the house and its garage, Los Angeles County Fire Department inspector Rick Flores said.

The backyards of another four residential properties in the area about 20 miles east of Los Angeles were littered with mud and debris, which did not reach the homes on those lots, he said.

The mudslide followed a rainstorm in the Glendora area that dumped nearly half an inch of rain on the barren hillside, said National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Smith. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area a short time before the mudslide, she said.

In January, the so-called Colby Fire in the foothills near Glendora burned about 2,000 acres. Three men whose illegal campfire ignited the blaze were convicted of related charges in federal court, with two men sentenced to several months in prison and a third still awaiting sentencing.

Because of the loss of vegetation on the hilly terrain near homes in the gated community where the mudslide occurred on Friday, a risk of similar landslides from rainstorms there is expected over the next three to five years, Flores said.

He could not immediately say how many houses are at risk in the area.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Dan Whitcomb)