Firefighters and utility crews have been working with chain saws and jackhammers, while heavy machinery was used to scoop up mud and rocks around buckled and flattened homes.
The aftermath in Montecito showed the destructive power of the debris flows: Home foundations swept bare, tangled piles of shattered debris, head-high boulders strewn about and the deaths of residents. "It's like we're on an island".
"We certainly hope it will be less than that, but the sooner we can get the resources in there that need to be in there to assess the damage in addition to the current rescue operation that is under way, the sooner we are going to be able to get things back to normal". Residents were still in shock over the loss of life. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Thursday that officials were expanding mandatory evacuation zones because pedestrians and traffic are hindering rescue and fix operations.
As of Tuesday, at least 25 people were injured.
Of the 18 confirmed victims, the oldest was Jim Mitchell, who had celebrated his 89th birthday the day before the mudslide. They were supported by K-9 units, 10 helicopters and six bulldozers.
After a better look at the damage, officials lowered the number of destroyed homes from 100 to 64 and raised the number of damaged ones from 300 to 446.
Tanker trucks sucked muddy water from flooded sections of US 101, the only direct major artery between Los Angeles and the Santa Barbara region and an important route for many people who work in the Santa Barbara region but live down the coast in Ventura County. So there was a really emotional moment, ' he said.
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Now, three days in to a mandatory evacuation order they made a decision to ignore, the Shaws said they're determined to ride out what could be a multi-week closure. Weimer hasn't heard from them since and pictures from the area show their home on Hot Springs Road was completely gone.
Nearly the entire community, about 10,000 people, are under a mandatory evacuation order that could last for up to two weeks, Santa Barbara County's fire chief said.
Gater tells the Times more than 200,000 emails and other warnings were issued, but the county decided not to use the push alert system to cellphones out of concern that it might not be taken seriously.
Our hearts go out to all those in Montecito.
"We know that this is a terribly inconvenient development, but it is also incredibly necessary", Brown said.
Alex Broumand of the Montecito Fire Department walks in mud in front of homes damaged from storms in Montecito, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. Some locals say they had "evacuation fatigue" after being ordered to leave home to avoid the blaze. "They can change from minute to minute", said Scott Somers, an emergency management professor at Arizona State University. "It's not like anybody came around and told them to leave".
Much of the focus of Thursday's search was on areas where rescue crews had yet to reach, said Amber Anderson, a public information officer for the multiagency response team handling the disaster.