Weather & Natural Disasters

Fire and rain: Mudslides now sweep across Santa Barbara County after devastating wildfires

In this photo provided by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, mud and debris flow on the roadway due to heavy rain in Montecito. Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.
Mike Eliason | Santa Barbara County Fire Department

After weeks of wildfires, heavy rain is now causing flash flooding and mudslides in charred areas of Santa Barbara County, California, devastating the town of Montecito.

The storms have killed at least 15 people and washed away dozens of homes and cars, authorities said.

The flooding and massive mudslides are in part blamed on the recent wildfires that burned through the region, creating dry and unstable soil conditions.

Emergency teams searched for victims as crews worked to remove boulders and tons of mud from roads. A 30-mile section of U.S. 101 has been closed due to the debris, making search efforts difficult.

Montecito is a town of 8,900 people outside Santa Barbara, about 85 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Homeowners reportedly include Oprah Winfrey, Drew Barrymore, Ellen DeGeneres and Alphabet's Eric Schmidt.

Here are scenes from the devastation.

Destroyed vehicles

Mangled cars are stuck near Olive Mill Road in Montecito after a major storm hit the burn area Tuesday January 9, 2018 in Montecito, California.
Wally Skalij | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Mangled cars are stuck near Olive Mill Road in Montecito.

Aerial view

This photo provided by Ventura County Sheriff's Office shows an arial view of Montecito, Calif., with mudflow and debris due to heavy rains on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.
Ventura County Sheriff's Office | AP

Mud flows through Montecito.

Muddy waters in car

Mud fills the interior of a car destroyed in a rain-driven mudslide in a neighborhood under mandatory evacuation in Burbank, California.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

The mudslides weren't limited to Santa Barbara County. In this photo, mud fills the interior of this car in Burbank in Los Angeles County.

Bike crossing

Carpinteria resident Jeff Gallup carries his bike through mud on Foothill Road in Carpinteria, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.
Michael Owen Baker | AP

Carpinteria resident Jeff Gallup carries his bike through mud on Foothill Road in Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County.

Downed Power lines

A car sits along along Olive Mill Road in Montecito after a major storm hit the burn area Tuesday January 9, 2018 in Montecito, California.
Wally Skalij | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

More destruction along Olive Mill Road in Montecito.

Search and rescue 

Search and Rescue emergency workers drive and all terrain vehicle after heavy rains and mudslides hit Santa Barbara county on Jan. 9th, 2018.
Source: Twitter | EliasonMike

Search and rescue teams use all-terrain vehicles near Montecito.

Recovered body

Sheriffs deputies carry a body from the debris near Hot Springs Road in Montecito after a major storm hit the burn area Tuesday January 9, 2018 in Montecito, California.
Wally Skalij | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Sheriff's deputies carry a body from the debris near Hot Springs Road in Montecito.

Stuck in the mud

A transport truck is submerged in mud and water after flash flooding and mudslides hit in Santa Barbara County on Jan. 9th. 2018.
Source: Twitter | EliasonMike

A transport truck is submerged in mud and water near Montecito.

Search and rescue from above

A search and rescue helicopter seen flying over Santa Barbara County on Jan. 9th, 2018.
Source: Twitter | EliasonMike

A helicopter surveys the damage near Montecito.

Crushed

A destroyed vehicle is shown after mudslides swept through Montecito in Santa Barbara County on Jan. 9th, 2018.
Source: Twitter | EliasonMike

A vehicle is crushed in the Montecito area.

Falling boulders

A large boulder sits in the middle of Bella Vista Drive in Montecito, Calif., following the rain storm, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.
Michael Owen Baker | AP

A boulder sits in the middle of Bella Vista Drive in Montecito.

Clean up begins

Firefighters clear debris from a mudslide in Los Angeles, California on January 9, 2018.
Ronen Tivony | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Firefighters clear debris from a mudslide in Los Angeles.

Clearing the mud

A bulldozer clears mud off the road near a flooded section of US 101 freeway near the San Ysidro exit in Montecito, California on January 9, 2018.
Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

A bulldozer clears mud off the road near a flooded section of the U.S. 101 freeway near the San Ysidro exit in Montecito.

Related Tags