After searching for hours, Montecito man learns mother died in mudslide


Brown said some of those on the missing list may simply have left the area before or after the mudslides or may just be out of touch with the family and friends looking for them.

More than 500 firefighters helped with overnight search and rescue operations, Orozco says.

The Thomas Fire, which is technically still burning, is the largest wildfire in California's history since detailed record-keeping began in the 1930s.

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management said Tuesday night that Montecito would be without potable water, electricity and sanitation "for an extended period of time". "We need people out, because they're really hampering our efforts for not only the rescue, but for the cleanup", said Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokeswoman Amber Anderson in a Friday phone interview.

At least 17 people have died as a result of Tuesday's mudslides in California, while eight remain missing, officials have said. That's my neighbor's house.

At least 13 people were killed and dozens more were injured early Tuesday morning after a heavy rainstorm propelled mud and debris through Montecito in Santa Barbara County.

In December, California Governor Jerry Brown said the state was "facing a new reality" as climate change meant wildfires could erupt "every year or every few years".

There were mixed reports about how many were still missing, with the number jumping from 17 to 48, according to Associated Press.

Santa Barbara County officials continued the search after a powerful mudslide washed away dozens of homes.

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The number of dead could climb as crews search through mud and debris that covered about 30 square miles.

The muddy water was not slowly leaking into homes like rainfall does - it came in slamming.

Ellen DeGeneres also shared an image of the devastation near her home on Twitter, saying: 'This is not a river.

"I'm heartbroken for our community of Montecito", she said.

Residents of the mudslide-hit area were assessing their damaged homes, with some grateful their properties had survived.

Some of Montecito residents on Wednesday returned to their homes to see what they could salvage from the ruins.

"I have lived here my whole life", said Melissa Ausanka-Crues, 29, a nurse.

Rescue teams removed debris from several roads in the Los Angeles area, including on Coastal Highway 101 where a 50-kilometer stretch was closed for some time in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

One such resident, Marco Farrell, 45, called the slide more frightening than the "biggest, scariest, horrifying monster you've ever dreamed of".

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