Death Toll Reaches 15 In Santa Barbara County Flooding; Search For Survivors Continues

Jan 10, 2018

The death toll has reached 15 from the massive flash flood and mudflow which tore through Montecito early Tuesday morning.

Some 500 firefighters, and other public safety workers are sifting through the debris of homes looking for survivors.  More than 50 people were rescued in the wake of the flooding, some of whom were trapped in the shattered homes.

Many residents are in shock over the disaster.  It comes just weeks after thousands of them were evacuated due to the Thomas Fire.  The 282,000 acre fire set the stage for the flooding and mudslides when it stripped the plants, and brush off of the mountains.

Highway 101 remains closed between Santa Barbara and Ventura.

Most of Montecito remains a restricted area to the public, because of the ongoing search and rescue efforts.  The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has created what's known as a public safety exclusion zone, to try to keep people out of the area.  It includes the area west of Sheffield Drive/East Valley Road/Ladera Lane, east of Olive Mill/Hot Springs Road, north of the ocean, and south of the U.S. Forest Service boundary. Residents are allowed to stay in their homes but will not be allowed to move around the area.