MALIBU (CBSLA) – Another storm front moving into Southern California is set to bring several inches of rain Wednesday and Thursday, again putting wildfire burn areas in Malibu and Lake Elsinore at risk of flooding and debris flows and potentially forcing people to flee their homes.
Riverside County issued mandatory evacuation warnings for the following neighborhoods in the Holy Fire burn area in and around Lake Elsinore: Amarose, Alberhill, Alvarado- A, Glen Eden, Glen Ivy-A, Glen Ivy–B, Grace, Horse thief–A, Laguna-A, Lakeside-A, Maitri, McVicker-A, Rice and Withrow-A.
A wide area skirting the eastern boundary of the Cleveland National Forest was left exposed to potential flood damage because of the Holy Fire, which denuded steep terrain below Santiago Peak, permitting water to flow unchecked onto lower slopes where subdivisions are situated.
The Holy Fire burn area has already been evacuated three times going back to mid-January due to heavy rains. It was also evacuated last November. One Lake Elsinore resident told CBS2 Tuesday that this is the fifth time he’s been placed on notice.
The National Weather Service posted a flash flood watch for the Riverside County mountains, valleys and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning that will be in effect from late tonight through Thursday evening. A high wind warning will also be in effect in the county mountains from this afternoon through 10 p.m. Thursday. The Coachella Valley was not included in either advisory.
“When they wanted us to leave, I left one time out of five,” Lake Elsinore resident Harry Lee said.
An evacuation center has been set up at Temescal Canyon High School in Lake Elsinore.
A small landslide in San Clemente shut down one Orange County roadway even before heavy rains were expected to move in overnight Wednesday. A section of North El Camino Real was closed Wednesday evening after mud and dirt slid onto a bike lane and part of the roadway prior to rain arriving in the area.
The slope is located close to beachfront residential property and an Amtrak train station. Geo-engineers are expected to evaluate the safety of the slope. Drivers in the area were diverted to the 5 Freeway.
Trabuco Creek will also be a trouble spot in O.C. Recent rains have sent rocks, water and debris came barreling down from the direction of Holy Jim Canyon.
The coasts and valleys will see 1 to 2 inches of rain, while the foothills and mountains will see anywhere from 2 to 4 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
“Rain, strong winds, and mountain snow will be moving into the region overnight and continuing through at least Thursday,” the NWS said in a statement. “The precipitation will be heavy at times, especially on Thursday. There is a chance of showers lingering into the weekend.”
In the San Gabriel Valley, residents were bracing for the rain Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, the Woolsey Fire burn area in Malibu and Ventura County could also see mudslides and flooding on canyon roads and steep terrain.
The most recent storm just last week caused creeks to overflow and closed portions of the Pacific Coast Highway as rocks and mud slid down scorched and eroded hillsides.
Extra staff from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department and Public Works will be patrolling the Woolsey burn area Wednesday and Thursday. Residents can grab free sandbags at fire stations in Malibu.
The 97,000-acre Woolsey Fire broke out south of Simi Valley on Nov. 8. It then jumped the south side of the 101 Freeway near Calabasas and spread into Malibu. The fire destroyed more than 1,500 structures and was responsible for three deaths. It was not fully contained until Nov. 21.
The 23,000-acre Holy Fire broke out in the Holy Jim Canyon area of Orange County on Aug. 6 and then marched east into Riverside County towards Lake Elsinore. It destroyed 18 homes in Orange and Riverside counties and forced thousands of people to flee. Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, a resident of Holy Jim Canyon, has been arrested and charged with sparking the blaze.
Evacuation warnings are also in effect for areas impacted by the 13,000-acre Cranston Fire in August, including the Apple Canyon, Fleming Ranch, Hurkey Creek and Strawberry Creek communities.
The arson-sparked broke out in the San Jacinto Mountains in July. The 13,000-acre blaze destroyed 12 homes and also forced thousands to evacuate. A 32-year-old Temecula man was arrested in connection with that fire.