Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Rivers of mud sweep through wildfire burn areas in California

Santa Barbara County Fire Search Dog Reilly looks for victims in damaged and destroyed homes in Montecito Rivers of mud sweep through wildfire burn areas in California
Bennie Garza | 14 January, 2018, 03:38

At least 28 others had been reported injured, and 17 more are missing, officials said without publicly identifying any of those killed in the mudslides. Rescue crews used helicopters to lift at least 50 people to safety because of blocked roads. Eight bodies were found during a rescue operation in Montecito, northwest of Los Angeles, in Santa Barbara County.

"We realise that this is going to be a long and hard journey for all of us and our community", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

"Right now our assets are focused on determining if anyone is still alive in any of those structures that have been damaged", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said, according to Time. Some homeowners were given the OK to return to their homes after deadly mudslides ushered residents out of several areas with mandatory and voluntary evacuations. Later in the week, hundreds of rescuers continued to search through the mud - waist-deep in some areas - for any remaining survivors as friends and family members awaited news. (Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News-Press via Reuters) A search dog looks for victims in damaged homes after a mudslide in Montecito, Calif. on Jan 9.

"But we are safe, and so thankful for that and for the first responders who are working tirelessly to save people", he said.

A woman was pulled out of a debris pile by firefighters, and a 14-year-old girl was saved from a destroyed home in Montecito, Eliason said.

A Coast Guard spokesman in Los Angeles confirmed it deployed three helicopter crews Tuesday to help local authorities with rescues in the Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria areas. This was particularly worrisome: That same area last month was scarred by the Thomas fire which forced people to flee from their homes, many of which went up in flames.

The mudslides follow on directly from one of California's worst ever fire seasons, which left steep slopes covered in ash and utterly barren of any sort of vegetation.

"I came around the house and heard a deep rumbling, an ominous sound that I knew was the boulders moving as the mud was rising", he said.

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