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Santa Clarita Landslide Threatens Homes In Skyline Ranch

By Zena Taher

SANTA CLARITA, CA - Disaster struck in a Santa Clarita neighborhood in February when a landslide hit, leading to evacuations.

Photo Credit: Zena Taher, Skyline Ranch neighborhood of Santa Clarita

On Feb. 5, six homes in the Skyline Ranch neighborhood of Santa Clarita were threatened by a landslide that formed after recent rains.

“The hill fell,” said Leo Ardell, who lives across the street from where the landslide occurred.

He was out on a walk with his wife when he saw the collapse.

“Probably chunks of three feet, maybe four feet wide were still falling down as we were still looking,” Ardell said.

Although no homes collapsed, the landslide did take some backyards with it. It also left the sidewalk damaged and shifting.

“By the time we got down we had noticed the sidewalk was kind of in a wave, some of it was down, some of it was pushed up but you could tell that the hill collapsed,” Ardell said. “You can tell that the neighbors’ yards were completely gone.”

There are five kinds of landslides, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The cause of the Skyline Ranch landslide is unknown.

“Soil failures are often very difficult to determine the cause, because soils engineering is not an exact science,” said John Caprarelli, Santa Clarita’s city building official. “In this case it appears the recent rains may have had something to do with it.”

Events like this one are rare, according to Caprarelli. In his 16 years working for the city, only three other failures have happened.

Meanwhile, officials with the Skyline Ranch development have been responsive and helpful in the aftermath of the incident, according to Ardell. Even so, he is worried a similar incident could take place in the future.

Zena Taher video report

By Zena Taher

Contributions: U.S. Geological Survey

Photo: Zena Taher

Video: Zena Taher


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