Updated: 1/9/2018 5:48:00 AM
At least 300 people, including some in the south end of the Sand Canyon area, have been forced to evacuate ahead of flash flood warnings through the Creek Fire burn areas. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for the following areas Kagel Canyon, Lopez Canyon and Little Tujunga Canyon. Los Angeles Fire Department officials, the California Highway Patrol, the Red Cross, and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies are assisting with evacuations due to the rain and damage from the recent fires in the #CreekFire area. Deputy personnel and support staff from various Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department stations are working to evacuate residents and assist with road closures due to the heavy rains and possible mudslides in various locations. Officials are asking residents in affected areas to remain vigilant and prepare for evacuations.
Published Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Parts of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties recently affected by wildfires are now under evacuation orders because of the rain.
With fears that burn-scar areas could see large mudslides during the first rain event since a series of wildfires devastated the landscape in the fall months, authorities have issued mandatory evacuations for vulnerable locations of the Thomas Fire and Whittier Fire burn scars, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Additional mandatory evacuation orders were issued for about 180 homes near the Fish Fire burn area in the city of Duarte, in Los Angeles County, beginning at 7 p.m. local time Monday due to the threat of mud and debris flows, CBS Los Angeles reported.
Voluntary evacuations have been issued for several other areas.
"Flash floods, mud and debris flows can happen with little or no warning. It is important that you understand the seriousness of the situation and follow the direction of authorities," a statement from Santa Barbara County said.
Burn scars from the Sherpa and Rey fires were also being monitored closely for mudslides, and evacuations were also issued for areas nearby, the L.A. Times added.
The Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara County, which was sparked Dec. 4, has burned more than 440 square miles and is the largest wildfire in state history. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Burn scars are especially susceptible to mudslides because wildfires can burn away all vegetation that holds back the land, leaving no defense against heavy rain.
The dangerous flooding and debris flows are a threat in California through Tuesday, despite one of the driest starts to the rainy season in the Golden State.
The National Weather Service has issued flash flood watches for the burn areas of northern and Southern California because of this flash flood, mudslide and debris-flow concern.
Some minor flooding of on-ramps and off-ramps was reported in a few spots around the San Francisco Bay Area Monday morning. Nearly 2 inches of rain had already fallen through Monday afternoon in San Francisco, making it the wettest calendar day since Dec. 11, 2014.
The pattern that has kept the Southwest dry over the last few weeks is finally breaking down. A deep trough, or area of upper-level low pressure, is digging southward from the Gulf of Alaska and will impact the U.S. West Coast into Tuesday.
While delivering much-needed precipitation to the parched state, that rain will also fall over some of the state's worst fire-burned areas. These burn areas could receive flooding and mudslides due to the lack of vegetation in place to hold hillsides up.