Local authorities have ordered evacuations in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in areas below mountains and hillsides that were burned in the recent Thomas fire, as the winter’s first major rainstorm approaches California.

The Los Angeles Times, citing Santa Barbara County authorities, reports:

Residents who live in the following areas were told to evacuate by noon Monday: north of Highway 192, east of Cold Springs Road, and west of Highway 150/the county line, as well as along Tecolote Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon, Gato Canyon and in the Whittier fire burn areas near Goleta.

A voluntary evacuation warning was issued for all areas south of Highway 192 to the ocean and east of Hot Springs Road/Olive Mill Road to Highway 150/county line, Santa Barbara County officials said.

The Thomas fire is still burning but is almost totally extinguished. Up to four inches of rain are expected Monday through Tuesday, the Times notes.

Last year, during an exceptionally wet winter, landslides caused problems along the California coast, particularly in Big Sur, where a massive landslide closed down the iconic Highway 1 and stranded coastal communities.

However, this year, the risk is different, and owes more to the disappearance of vegetation that can prevent erosion.

In Northern California, the rains are being welcomed, as they are expected to dump several feet of snow on the Sierra Nevada range, bringing snow to ski resorts and adding to the snowpack that is the state’s most crucial source of water in the spring and summer.

Dry La Niña conditions have prevailed up and down the West Coast this winter.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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