SoCal bracing for potential flooding in recent areas charred by Getty, Saddleridge and Tick fires

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Recent burn areas in Los Angeles County were particularly at risk for flash flooding, along with mud and debris flows, Wednesday as heavy downpours drenched areas left charred by fast-moving wildfires.

Moderate to heavy rainfall swept across hillsides charred by the Getty, Saddleridge and Tick fires.

"Rainfall rates between 0.50 inch per hour and 1 inch per hour are possible, especially near thunderstorms...Road closures and property damage may occur due to mud and debris flows," the National Weather Service said in a statement.

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A flash flood watch is in effect for the burn areas until 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The vigorous storm system was expected to fall heaviest to the south and east of Los Angeles, hitting communities from Oceanside to Temecula to Riverside and out to Palm Springs.

"Areas most at risk include low-lying intersections, areas with poor drainage, and the coastal mountain slopes, where the rainfall will be the greatest,'' warned the San Diego office of the NWS, which monitors conditions in Orange County. "Mud slides and debris flows are possible in and below recently burned areas.''

Communities throughout the region from Ventura County to the Inland Empire were hit hard by wildfires in recent months.

The 4,615-acre Tick Fire ravaged the Santa Clarita area in late October, forcing the evacuations of over 40,000 people and threatening about 10,000 structures before firefighters were able to contain the blaze.

Days later, the Getty Fire erupted near the 405 Freeway in Brentwood, blackening hillsides and leaving more than 700 acres stripped bare of vegetation.

The Getty Fire was determined to have been sparked when high winds carried a tree branch from outside of a brush clearance zone into a city power line.

RELATED: Dashcam video shows electrical arc, explosion that started Getty Fire

Officials have put K-rails along the roadway to prevent mud flows from impeding onto Sepulveda Boulevard. They have extra crews and equipment in position and ready to be deployed.

"Our biggest concern is what the hillsides may do that no one has seen coming," said Chi Ming Gong with Los Angeles city Public Works. "Our concern is to make sure we have equipment in nearby areas that we pre-deploy with our best guesstimate on where we think possible mudslides may happen."

The NWS forecast between three-quarters of an inch of rain and an inch-and-a-half in the region but between an inch-and-a-half and three inches in the eastern San Gabriel Mountains.

City News Service contributed to this story.
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