Eight Dead, Thousands Flee in Southern California Due to Flood and Mudslides

California flood and mudslides
Credits: Santa Barbara County Fire Department/ Twitter

At least eight people died and thousands evacuated their homes in Santa Barbara County, Southern California due to flood and mudslides on Tuesday.

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The region is experiencing heavy rainfall just weeks after suffering multiple wildfires that burnt acres of protective brush and vegetation. The communities hit by the wildfires are now experiencing debris flow, flash floods, and mudslides.

More than 6,000 people received mandatory evacuation orders including the residents of Carpinteria, Montecito, and Goleta. Some parts of these neighborhoods were burnt by wildfires.  The county also issued voluntary warnings for additional 20,000 people.

Multiple rescues underway in Santa Barbara County

In Montecito, several homes were swept from their foundation because of the torrential conditions. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department is performing multiple rescues in the area. People were trapped in their destroyed homes, others buried in mud, which were about 5 feet in certain places.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department Capt. Dave Zaniboni confirmed the number of deaths in Montecito. They also rescued a 14-year-old girl, who was trapped for hours inside a destroyed home in the area.

Rescue crews are using helicopters to take people to safety because roads are closed. The fire department’s search dog Reilly is also helping to look for residents in the community.

According Capt. Zaniboni, “We’re performing multiple rescues. There will be more.” He added that they have a backlog of people requesting for her. Some of those already brought to safety were buried in mud.