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

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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.

    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
  • Aerial view

    Mud flows through Montecito.

    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
  • Muddy waters in car

    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.

    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
  • Bike crossing

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

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

    More destruction along Olive Mill Road in Montecito.

    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
  • Search and rescue 

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

    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
  • Recovered body

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

    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
  • Stuck in the mud

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

    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
  • Search and rescue from above

    A helicopter surveys the damage near Montecito.

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

    A vehicle is crushed in the Montecito area.

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

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

    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
  • Clean up begins

    Firefighters clear debris from a mudslide in Los Angeles.

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

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

    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