California in floods and mud

Just weeks after California’s Camp Fire wiped the town of Paradise off the map, heavy rainfall triggered debris flows, causing road closures and yet another round of evacuations in burn areas.

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As many as 100 vehicles were stuck on Honey Run Road in Butte County and were unable to flee Butte Creek Canyon, according to the Chico Enterprise-Record. Those vehicles were later freed, and no injuries were reported.

A pair of debris flows overtook Honey Run Road, trapping about 50 people in their homes above one of the flows.

It is serious. The water is coming up so we want to make sure we get everybody out that we can,” Butte County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Meyer told KHSL/KNVN in Chico, as reported by the Associated Press. Thursday afternoon, Orange County authorities ordered the evacuation of Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains, where a wildfire burned earlier this year, according to the AP.

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As the heavy rain moved into Southern California, it triggered travel woes and several car crashes. A mudslide trapped vehicles and prompted the California Highway Patrol to close Highway 38 between Valley of the Falls Drive and Sugar Pine Circle in San Bernardino County.

Health officials warned residents in Southern California Thursday to avoid beach water, which may contain bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash and other public health hazards due to runoff, the AP reported.

On Wednesday, residents were ordered to evacuate from several areas near the Holy Fire burn area in Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles. The county released an interactive map to show which areas were under mandatory evacuation orders, and which were at risk for mudslides and debris flows during the storms.

People in these zones MUST GO NOW,” said the county in the announcement. “Debris flows can happen with little to no warning. As always, residents are urged to remain vigilant and take personal responsibility for their safety.” The area was left vulnerable by the Holy Fire, which burned more than 36 square miles in August. It destroyed several structures and left many hillsides with no vegetation to hold back possible mudslides.

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