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Notable Santa Clarita Valley natural disasters

Posted: September 1, 2013 7:07 p.m.
Updated: September 1, 2013 7:07 p.m.

Jan. 18, 1862: Heavy rainfall washes out the cement-walled road through the Newhall Pass, stranding the Santa Clarita Valley without access to the south.

April 4, 1893: Measuring 5.75 on the Richter Scale, this quake in Pico Canyon prompted an angry mob to march on oil-drilling facilities there, convinced they were responsible for the shaking.

Aug. 28, 1962: Two fires broke out in the Santa Clarita Valley — one in Newhall and one in Castaic — razing Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch, destroying 15 structures, blackening 17,200 acres and creating an estimated $2.2 million in damage.

Sept. 25, 1970: What is known as the 1970 California Fire Siege began with the Clampitt Fire in Newhall, which merged with a Malibu fire and 10 others, burning 600,000 acres over 10 days, killing 13 and destroying some 1,500 structures.

Feb. 9, 1971: Measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale, the Sylmar quake struck at 6:01 a.m., killing 65, injuring more than 2,000, and causing $505 million in property damage. Many homes and businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley were damaged or destroyed. The Newhall Pass Highway 14 freeway bridge dropped, cutting off the SCV from the San Fernando Valley.

Jan. 17, 1994: Measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, the Northridge quake struck at 4:30 a.m., damaging or destroying many homes and businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley and again dropping the Highway 14 bridge in the Newhall Pass. Sixty people were killed, more than 7,000 were injured and $20 billion in property damage was caused.

Winter of 1997-98: El Nino slammed the Santa Clarita Valley and the rest of Southern California. Damage claims filed with FEMA totaled $20 million for a single day — Feb. 23, 1998 — in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Oct. 20, 2007: The Ranch Fire is the first in a series of destructive Santa Clarita Valley fires that burned for a week. It would be followed by the Buckweed, Magic, Meadowridge and October fires — all in the SCV. By the end of the week, nearly 100,000 SCV acres would be burned, 21 homes would be destroyed and 16 would be damaged. Throughout Southern California, the 2007 fire season burned 500,000 acres from Santa Barbara County to the Mexican border, destroyed 1,500 homes, killed 14 people and injured at least 70.

Aug. 26, 2009: The Station Fire erupts in the Angeles National Forest, burning around most of the Santa Clarita Valley but destroying homes in Agua Dulce and Acton. One of a network of Southern California fires, it burned 160,577 acres, destroyed 89 homes and killed two Los Angeles County firefighters.


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