At least 17 dead as mudslides hit fire-ravaged Southern California

At least 17 dead as mudslides hit fire-ravaged Southern California

Seventeen people are confirmed dead.

After last month's wildfires cleared stabilizing vegetation from hillsides, strong rains turned the remainder into devastating mud flows yesterday.

Yellow bulldozers were clearing the roads of tons of sticky brown mud in Montecito and other towns as utility workers restored downed power lines. Military vehicles arrive to assist evacuation operations at an area damaged by mudslides in Montecito, Calif. on January 9.

The former talk-show host, whose Golden Globes speech spurred chatter about a 2020 run, shared a video montage to her Instagram account depicting damage done to her 65-acre Santa Barbara County property, People magazine reported.

Many residents made a decision to stay.

An evacuation order was issued recently near the burnt-down areas of Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

At least 18 people are dead - including children ages 3, 6, 10 and 12 - when heavy rain unleashed flash floods, mudslides and debris flow in California this week, according to Santa Barbara County officials.

"At this moment, we are still looking for live victims", Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney said.

Roads were clogged throughout the region with mudflows shutting down more than 30 miles (50 kilometers) of the 101 Freeway on Tuesday and knocking a number of homes from their foundations.

"Had we not gone over there, I don't think that kid would have [survived]", he added.

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Dozens of residents were rescued, some by helicopter, and 25 people were treated for injuries.

Brown said the fact that the number of people who have been killed and those that are missing is the same is a coincidence.

"Everyone's up there and no one can get out", he said. "Water was flowing out of water mains and sheared-off fire hydrants".

An evacuation center was set up at the Santa Barbara City College Campus Gymnasium.

In the northern part of the state, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, where separate fires had destroyed entire neighborhoods and killed dozens of people past year, were put on watch for flash floods and slides.

Last month's wildfires, including the Thomas Fire, which became the largest in California history, not only burned away trees, grass and shrubs that held soil in place, but also baked a waxy layer into the earth that prevents water from sinking deeply into the ground.

A group of 300 people is stuck in Romero Canyon east of Santa Barbara.

The rivers of mud caused widespread damage to historic hotels and the homes of celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres.

Rain is expected to continue Tuesday into early Wednesday across the state, accompanied by strong winds, with parts of Ventura County receiving over 4 inches so far, according to the National Weather Service.

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