Areas across SoCal affected by fires prepare for heavy rains, possible debris flows

VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) -- Areas heavily burned by brush fires in Ventura and Los Angeles braced for the possibility of mud and debris flows as a rain storm moved through the Southland Monday.

While light to steady rains have poured throughout the day, slightly heavier showers and stronger winds are expected after 10 p.m.

MORE: Get the latest weather forecast as storms move through SoCal

Canyon areas in Ventura, especially where the fire tore through, were being looked over closely. Residents near those steep hills were told to protect properties with sandbags. Evacuations in areas of Ventura County were ordered by Monday afternoon.

MORE: Evacuations ordered in SoCal burn areas amid flood warnings

"We live in an area where just, home after home after home -- they're destroyed," said resident Paula Howell. She was filling up free sandbags to try to shield her home from potential mudslides.

"Water will come down my street, and there's a sidewalk, and so my fear is it coming up and over the sidewalk into my front yard and into my front door," Howell said.

Meanwhile, Ventura County crews were busy cleaning out debris basins in hopes of averting another disaster.

"We're adding additional capacity. We're trying to get another 10,000 yards out of here, which is about 20 or 25 percent of what this basin could hold," said Jeff Pratt of Ventura County Public Works.

Pratt said, however, that the incoming rains could fill those basins back up "in a heartbeat."

In Kagel Canyon and Lake View Terrace where the Creek Fire once raged, many said they now fear the rain they formerly wished for.

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Residents prepare amid mudslide fears around the Creek Fire burn areas.

Gaby Griffin, a resident of Lake View Terrace, said the fire-ravaged hillsides surrounding her home worry her as the heavy rain closes in. "We had never had fire this close, and I'm a little nervous," Griffin said.

Residents weren't the only ones concerned about the possible effects of the deluge -- mandatory evacuations were issued by Los Angeles County for areas of Kagel, Lopez and Little Tujunga canyons.

Laura Georges's Lake View Terrace home narrowly escaped the fires last year, but dealing with slides and runoff during their five years there has come at a cost.

"We ended up having to build retaining walls just to accommodate for all of the mud that comes down. We've spent about $10,000 just on the wall itself," she said.

Residents of the Canyon Fire 2 burn area in Orange County's Anaheim Hills were also clearing out storm drains and putting sandbags to guard property from mudflow.

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Anaheim Hills residents in the Canyon Fire 2 burn area prepare for possible storm damage from Monday and Tuesday's Southern California rain.

One by one, Public Works employees placed K-rails in between a residential street and a charred hillside. They worked through a steady flow of rain, preparing for a much stronger storm to arrive in the Southland.

"This is the first storm we've seen since Canyon Fire 2 came through this neighborhood, so we're interested to see how the hillsides will respond to the rain," said Erin Ryan from the city of Anaheim.

Canyon Fire 2 burned more than 9,200 acres back in October. Several areas in the community were affected.

With rain on the way, city staff took several precautions to prevent debris flow, including placing gravel bags, laying down mulch and providing sandbags to residents.

In the Bel Air area that was affected by the Skirball Fire, light rain fell in the morning along the charred hillsides but didn't cause any issues.

Residents in Burbank, where the large La Tuna Fire threatened homes last year, placed sandbags along their driveways and sidewalks.

In the Inland Empire, the rain is a cause for concern in some communities and a very welcome sight in others. For the homes at the top of Emmerton Lane in Highland, there's concern because they're right next to a hillside left charred by the Mart Fire. Another area in the same situation was Little Mountain in San Bernardino.

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