Ashen hillsides that were burned in burned in the Thomas Fire take on a nearly winter-like appearance on December 20, 2017 near Carpinteria, California.
David McNew—Getty Images
By Associated Press
January 8, 2018

(LOS ANGELES) — Officials say about 21,000 people have been evacuated from neighborhoods beneath hillsides laid bare by California’s largest-ever wildfire and other recent blazes as a storm raises fears of flash floods and debris flows.

Robert Lewin, director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, is urging residents of Summerland, Carpinteria and Montecito to leave by mid-Monday. The hillside communities were evacuated last month as the massive Thomas Fire raged. Evacuations also include homes near other burn areas dating to 2016.

Lewin says flash floods can turn normally dry creeks into destructive rivers of mud and debris that can wash out roads and destroy homes.

The first significant storm of the season is walloping much of the state with heavy rain, snow and strong winds. Forecasters say several inches of rain could fall overnight on areas scarred by the largest-ever state blaze.

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