Thursday, June 21, 2012

Red Car Canyon: Brush Fire Waiting To Happen*

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 15, 2012.  Debris from the December 1, 2011 windstorm is still a good 12' high in the wooded canyon between Corralitas Drive, Riverside Place & Lake View Ave.  (Click on photos to enlarge.) 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 15, 2012.  As far back as December, and routinely since April, neighbors have been asking City Councilmember Garcetti's CD13 staff  and the LAFD to have the dry debris hauled away.  No response yet.  

Somehow, there never seems to be a penalty for the Red Car Property owner for putting the entire neighborhood at risk of fire.  Yet, if you don't do your brush clearance on your Hillside lot with a home on it, you will be cited and fined by the LAFD. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 15, 2012. Recently, a Lake View Ave neighbor had their rear fence (adjacent to the wooded canyon) replaced.   Why haul away the old fence?  Just dump it on the Red Car Property with all the other debris.

The LAFD Brush Clearance Unit is unlikely to cite the owner since technically the vacant lots on our side of town fall under the City Dept of Lot Cleaning's jurisdiction. But Lot Cleaning never does the slopes nor trims the trees up from the ground according to LAFD standards for Hillside lots in the VHFHSZ.  If a fire were to start in this canyon and damage or destroy adjacent homes, the City should be held liable, along with the property owner. 

Lot Cleaning came out a few weeks ago with a giant rototiller on the back of a bulldozer and did a portion of the brush clearance at the south end of the Red Car Property off Corralitas Drive.  They just went around one of the earlier dumped vegetation piles, without even chewing it up with the rototiller.

Recently, at personal expense, a couple of neighbors removed the piles of construction debris and vegetation that had been dumped further south in the canyon.  They understand the presence of debris piles only attracts more dumping (as evidenced in the above photos).  However, this is above and beyond the scale of those debris piles. 

The Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) for this lot on the Red Car Property is 5440-030-033 (the long narrow lot, not the squarish one).

LAFD Brush Clearance Unit:

City Councilmember Eric Garcetti, CD13: 

Click here for the Dec 1, 2011 windstorm posts (documenting the downed trees).

*UPDATE 6-22-12: A number of neighbors and I received an email response from CD 13 Silver Lake Deputy Ryan Carpio, this afternoon.  CD13 is working with LAFD, City Dept of Lot Cleaning, Building & Safety and the City Attorney to resolve the brush clearance issue. 

Diane's opinion: Until a City Councilmember has the balls to stand up to the City Department of Lot Cleaning and tells them to give up jurisdiction of the vacant Hillside lots in the Northeast (the areas added to the VHFHSZ around the year 2000) to the LAFD Brush Unit, these problems will continue on our side of town.