Burn areas brace for mud and debris flows while LA County crews clean out debris basins

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH has been issued for burn areas across Southern Calfornia including that area in Burbank off Country Club Drive below where the La Tuna fire caused so much damaged. Now, preparations are under to protect those who live in that area.

Using a GoPro camera attached to the cab of a 322C excavator we got an interesting look at how machine's bucket picks up about a ton of mud and dirt and, then, drops it into a truck that can handle about ten tons of the stuff.

We saw truck after truck in a convoy of cleanup crews trying to get the upper Sunset debris basin ready for the next storm… and the ones that will follow.

In January a mud flow so mighty pushed cars into the dirty drink.

One of those belonged to Wendy Peters who says she's "Definitely, considerably concerned. This storm in January took out our plants, our cars… our garage."

All damaged when the Upper Sunset Dam spillway couldn't hold back the mud and debris from the La Tuna burn area above it.

At the dam is a new 50 foot high extension. Layers of new concrete designed to raise the height of the arch dam built in 1929 by 5 feet to increase capacity. Keith Lilley, a Principal Engineer with LA County Public Works told FOX 11, "We've increased the capacity by 50%… it should increase amount of the sediment that we can capture. You see these trucks going by now.. those those hold about 10 yards of sediment. This basin can now hold 2400 truckloads of sediment."

Neighbor Chris Burton says, "I think its going to be different that last time because they finished the construction on the height extension."

Burton took a bit of a beating on the January storm. Mud - lots of it - in his garage. Now he has a 22-inch high mud deflection barrier. But, despite his mud-deflection wall and the bigger one at the dam, officials say heed warnings to leave if necessary.

And keep tabs on the changing weather conditions which - of course - you can do with us here on FOX 11 or on our website FOXLA.com.