On January 8, as the largest wildfire in state history still burned nearby, the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning for the towns of Montecito and Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County. As the strong Pacific system moved inland over the Thomas Fire burn-scarred areas, it produced heavy rainfall and created devastating mudslides.
Approximately 30,000 residents were evacuated from surrounding areas. As of today, there are 17 confirmed fatalities and eight remain missing. Initially, dozens of residents were reported missing.
The mud and debris flow cutoff numerous roads throughout the county, including heavily traveled Highway 101. At this time, Highway 101 remains closed in both directions and Caltrans does not expect to reopen until next week.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) began to mobilize Urban Search and Rescue Teams and Swiftwater/Flood Search and Rescue Teams to assist in the response efforts. As assessments of the affected areas continue and search and rescue missions are ongoing, additional mutual aid resources are being coordinated.
For incident-specific information, click on the links below to be directed to participating agencies: