Janet Blake said the worst moment of the Station fire came days after the blaze blackened the hills above her home on Upper Canyonside Road in La Crescenta.
"What was most horrifying was to hear, 'Ma'am, you have to get ready for the mudflow," Blake said.
Blake and her neighbors have been getting ready ever since. On Saturday, the Upper Canyonside Community Assn. and Crescenta Valley Fire Safe Council teamed up for a morning of clearing brush and reducing the risk of fire and flood danger.
The morning began with a moment of silence for Arnie Quinones and Tedmund Hall, the firefighters who died battling the fire that scorched 160,000 acres last summer. Then residents and helpers from La Crescenta Boy Scout Troop 288 and Gothic Grounds Management — fortified with baked goods and coffee from local merchants — hauled brush and clippings to a Dumpster.
Roger Young, with the Crescenta Valley Fire Safe Council, offered tips on how to harden a home against fire. "With over 50% of the homes that catch fire, the fire isn't caused by the flame front as it comes through," Young told a group of about three dozen people. "It is the embers."