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Evacuation orders remained in effect for hundreds of homes in Los Angeles County foothill communities where fires have burned away vegetation that holds soil in place, and bursts of rain caused the mountains to belch occasional debris flows.

The rain offers some relief to the dry conditions but is not expected to be enough to break the historic drought.

A drought-related unseasonable wildfire, the Colby Fire, was accidentally ignited in the dry chaparral vegetation in January, destroying homes and sending thousands fleeing. The charred and denuded hillsides are threatening the homes of about a thousand evacuated residents with rain-loosened mud-ash slides.

Bob Lavezzari clears ashen mud from his street in a neighborhood threatened by a possible major mudslide below a burned hillside as a storm brings rain in the midst of record drought on March 1, 2014, near Azusa, California.David McNew / Getty Images