California Mudslides Kill 15 in Areas Wrecked by Wildfires


California Mudslides Kill 15 in Areas Wrecked by Wildfires

But only 10-15% complied with mandatory orders, said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Flooding and debris flows closed United States 101 in the Thomas Fire burn area, located north of Ventura and south of Santa Barbara, according to California Department of Transportation.

Editor's Note: As of 7:30 am EST Thursday the California mudslides death toll has risen to 17.

The mudslides were triggered by torrential downpours that unleashed rain on the region, which was hit by last month's mammoth Thomas Fire - the largest wildfire ever recorded in California. Authorities said at least 13 people have died and 28 were injured as a result of the rain and flooding.

Bill Brown, sheriff of Santa Barbara, said: "The best way I can describe it is, it looked like a World War One battlefield".

Emergency workers tried to rescue stranded people using dogs and helicopters.

A 14-year-old girl was also rescued from the mud after being trapped for hours. With the wildfires leaving behind a waxy layer of debris that made it hard for water to infiltrate the ground, the downpour caused flash floods in the fire-scarred Santa Ynez Mountains. Santa Barbara County is allowing residents to shelter in place in their homes today, but they will not be allowed to move about the area.

"It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere - with huge boulders, rocks, downed trees, power lines, wrecked cars", Mr Brown said.

It was a moment to cherish in what was a devastating day for the community northwest of Los Angeles, where at least eight people were killed in the first major storm of the season in Southern California. "We think somewhere in the debris field". The authorities on Tuesday ordered evacuation and recommended that the residents move to high areas.

"Then swipe left to see how deep the mud is in my backyard".

After the wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil created a water-repellent layer that blocked water absorption and increased risk of mudslides and floods.



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