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Rain is in Southland forecast

Wagner is a Times staff writer.

Rain is expected to reach Southern California tonight, raising fears among fire authorities over mudslides further damaging hillside communities already ravaged by this month’s wildfires.

The National Weather Service issued a weather warning for Southern California, with forecasters predicting as much as 2 inches of rain in mountain areas in Los Angeles and Orange counties and elsewhere.

The heaviest rain is expected early Tuesday and will continue through Wednesday, letting up briefly on Thanksgiving, officials said.

Based on the direction of the coming storm, weather forecasters are predicting that south-facing slopes will be hardest hit.

Communities along the coast and in the valleys can expect about half an inch; hilly areas can expect more.

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The Freeway Complex fire, which burned nearly 30,000 acres and destroyed at least 150 homes, mostly in Orange County, left many charred areas barren of vegetation, including hillsides of Chino Hills State Park.

Last week’s Sayre fire, following the Sesnon and Marek fires of October, also left hillsides in the north San Fernando Valley susceptible to sliding mud, rock or other debris, officials said.

Burn areas, especially new ones, are susceptible to slides because fires have loosened topsoil and burned away vegetation that holds hills in place, said Jamie Meier, meteorologist with the National Weather Service station in Oxnard.

“It could take a little rain to cause debris flow in those areas,” Meier said.

To protect against mudslides, Orange County Fire Authority officials suggest calling local fire stations for sandbags and municipal public works departments for sand.

Los Angeles Fire Department stations normally stock 25 sandbags per resident, but sand is not included, said spokesman Cecil Manresa.

Los Angeles County fire stations are offering bags and sand.

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james.wagner @latimes.com


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