By CBSLA Staff

AZUSA (CBSLA) – A powerful storm that hit the Southland region caused a mudslide that shut down a highway in the Angeles National Forest in Azusa Friday morning.

A mudslide shuts down Highway 39 in Azusa, Calif. Jan. 29, 2021. (CBSLA)

The mudslide occurred just after 6 a.m. on Highway 39 near mile marker 18 in the San Gabriel Mountains.

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Aerial footage from SKY2 appeared to show a Honda Civic trapped in the mud waters. A few other vehicles later got trapped as well, but everyone inside the car was able to exit the vehicle and there were no reports of any injuries.

“Due to the ongoing rains, we’re probably going to have continual mudslides in this area due to the last fires that weakened the hillside,” CHP Officer Jacob Moniz told CBSLA.

Moniz said CHP was working with residents who live in Camp Williams and other parts of the San Gabriel Mountains to ensure they aren’t trapped in and can access other roadways out.

Officials were concerned the storm would cause debris flows in the Bobcat Fire and Ranch 2 burn scars in the San Gabriel Mountain foothills in Monrovia and Azusa.

As of Friday morning, there were no major mudslides in residential neighborhoods.

In Monrovia, a drainage pipe was added to help divert high waters in the Bobcat Fire burn scar. Tractors and other debris removal equipment were pre-deployed before the storm, with patrols watching for anything that could start to slide.

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“We made sure that all of our catch basins in the street were clear, that the debris basins at the top of the hill were clear and had capacity to take on any mud and debris movement that would arise from this rain storm,” Sean Sullivan, public works director for the city of Monrovia, said.

That work allowed the rain to come and go without issue, but residents said they were not going to let their guard down just yet.

“I am assuming that if we get more rain, we will get some flooding,” Mick Lukan, a Monrovia resident, said. “I mean, there is no choice about it, because we are in a flood area.”

Monrovia’s Canyon Park and the Hillside Wilderness Preserve did take a hit from the storm, however.

“Some preliminary photos we saw this morning show some erosion and some mud and debris coming onto our roads and in some of the areas there within our hillside reserve and the canyon park,” Sullivan said. “So we’ll be going up there today to assess what’s going on in the park and make sure that we start to clean it up and make sure we get that under control.”

Sullivan said the department would be installing K-rails Monday to protect the homes on Oakglade Drive from future debris flow threats.

The Ranch 2 Fire burn scar, meanwhile, hangs directly above the Mountain Cove community in Azusa. City leaders told CBSLA that the storm was the first real test of how much damage they suffered since the arson-sparked fire burned more than 3,050 acres back in August.

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Local and federal officials worked with the private hillside community to install protective K-Rails. For months, L.A. County Public Works crews have focused on clearing catch basins and making other improvements based on map studies of how debris might flow during heavy rains.