Southern California sees deadly mudslides in areas hit by wildfires

Southern California sees deadly mudslides in areas hit by wildfires

One of the rescues involved airlifting two burn victims from a home explosion in Montecito to a Santa Barbara-area hospital.

Firefighters have rescued at least eight people in Montecito, and the "numbers are expected to go up significantly", Eliason said.

Rescuers are continuing their search operations, with the missing now numbering seven, including a two-year-old girl, according to the Santa Barbara sheriff's office.

Authorities in Santa Barbara County warned that the death toll could rise, as more people are feared trapped beneath the mud.

He also warned of "waist-deep mud flow" as well as downed trees and power lines across the area, which have left responders' access severly limited. This type of soil can not absorb water as easily, making the region more vulnerable to mudslides during heavy rains-such as the ones that dumped five inches of rain on parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties this week. Authorities said at least 13 people have died and 28 were injured as a result of the rain and flooding. Earlier, fire crews rescued about 50 people in the Montecito area, officials said.

"We don't know how many people are trapped, we know there are some".

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Only an estimated 10 to 15% of residents fled when ordered and much of the damage occurred where evacuations were voluntary. Marco Ferrel said he ran home after he heard rumbling and found four feet of mud counter-high throughout his house.

Fox5 reports that the family of five, from the coastal city of Carpinteria, were among the dozens who had to be rescued by the coast guard and other emergency service workers.

The wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.

The sheriff said "at least several dozen homes have been either destroyed or severely damaged, and likely many other ones are in areas that are as-yet inaccessible".

Flooding and mudslides also blocked roads in parts of Los Angeles County, shutting down major routes.

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