Montecito Mudslide Updates

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(Photos: Mike Eliason / SBCFD)

Update by Edhat News
7:00 p.m., January 21, 2018

21 people have died and 2 people are still missing in the Montecito mudslides.

Crews continue searching buildings and debris flow for victims. The unstable environment remains a critical threat to civilians and responders. The large amounts of mud and debris are making access and progress challenging. Search and recovery remains the highest priority.

Damage inspection is ongoing and to be considered estimates. More accurate surveys and assessments have realigned the numbers to the most current picture and will continue to fluctuate as data is vetted. A new interactive damage assessment map can be found here.

At 7:00 am Monday, all fire resources will be released and CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 3 will transition command to the Santa Barbara County EOC.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is still enforcing a Mandatory Evacuation Order for specific areas of Montecito. View the map here

The Red Cross closed their shelter at San Marcos High School on Thursday morning. Anyone needing assistance is being directed to the Local Assistance Center inside Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara at 1 N Calle Cesar Chavez.

Photo: Mike Eliason / SBCFD

Casualties and Rescues

  • 21 confirmed casualties, their identities are available here.
  • 2 people are missing, their identities are available here.
  • 28 storm-related injuries


Mandatory Evacuations

The unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, Montecito, Summerland, and Carpinteria:
NORTH of Hwy 192 to the U.S. Forest Service Boundary: EAST of Cold Springs Road to Toro Canyon Rd on the WEST.
SOUTH of Hwy 192 to the ocean: EAST of Sycamore Canyon Rd/Hot Springs Rd/Oak Rd/Olive Mill to Ortega Ridge Rd on the WEST.

Voluntary Evacuations

All areas SOUTH of Hwy 192 to the ocean:
EAST of Summit Rd/Hot Springs Road/Channel Drive and WEST of Sycamore Canyon Rd/Hot Springs/Olive Mill.

See evacuation areas on this map.

People in these areas should stay alert to changing conditions and be prepared to leave immediately if the situation worsens.

Photo: Mike Eliason/SBCFD

Local Assistance Center

The LAC will initially be open 1/17/18 to 2/3/18 at:

Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara
1 N Calle Cesar Chavez, Santa Barbara, 93103

11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Monday – Friday
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday
The center will be closed on Sunday

Structure and Property Damage

  • 30 square miles affected (19,200 acres)
  • 129 homes destroyed
  • 307 homes damaged
  • 3,000 Single Family Residences Threatened
  • 6 Commercial Property Destroyed
  • 17 Commercial Property Damaged
  • 200 Commercial Property Threatened


  • Total Personnel: 469
  • Engines: 11
  • Hand Crews: 10
  • Helicopters: 0
  • Air Tankers: 0
  • K9 USAR: 0
  • Dozers: 6
  • Technical Rescue: 0
  • Cooperating Agencies: CalFire, CalTrans, US Coast Guard, US Navy, So Cal Gas, So Cal Edison, SB SAR, American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Public Works, California Conservation Corps.


  • Highway 101 is now open in both directions
  • Numerous road closures off SR-192
  • See all road closures here.

Caltrans announced they do not have a timetable for when SR-192 will be open.

Evacuation Centers

The Red Cross Shelter closed. Residents in need can visit Red Cross at the Local Assistance Center or by calling 2-1-1. Services for those currently in need of shelter services will continue to be provided on a one-on-one basis.

Animal shelters accepted at Earl Warren Showgrounds and the Humane Society, for assistance with large and small animals, call (805) 681-4332


  • Natural gas has been shut off to most parts of Montecito. It is expected to be several days before restoration. For additional gas outage information, go to or dial
  • Power outages are affecting over 6,000 homes and businesses, primarily in the Montecito area.
  • Many areas of Montecito are without potable water and sanitary services.
  • Water outage is anticipated throughout the Montecito Water District (excluding Summerland).

Water Distribution and Boil Water Notice

Bottled water will be distributed at two locations from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. This water is only for Montecito District customers in need of water:

  • Montecito Fire Station #2 at 2300 Sycamore Canyon Rd and Cold Spring Rd.
  • Summerland Post Office at 2245 Lillie Ave

The boil water notice remains in effect for most customers of the Montecito Water District. The notice has been canceled for the Summerland area as described below:

  • East of and including Ortega Ridge Road to the ocean.
  • South of and including Hunt Drive.
  • West of and including Greenwell Road / Asegra Road
  • This area includes Freesia Drive, Caspia Lane, Marguerita Way, and the Montecito Ranch Estates.

An interactive map of this area is located at
Directions on how to boil or disinfect water:

Beach Closures

In order to protect the public’s health, the Santa Barbara County Health Officer has closed the ocean waters for public use until further notice. Ocean water at the following beaches will remain closed:

  • East Beach at Mission Creek
  • East Beach at Sycamore Creek
  • El Capitan State Beach
  • Goleta Beach
  • Butterfly Beach
  • Hammond Beach
  • Carpinteria State Beach
  • Rincon Beach


For donations and volunteer opportunities, please contact these organizations:

  • Red Cross local chapter: or text “redcross” to 90999
  • United Way of Santa Barbara County:
  • Foodbank of Santa Barbara County: 1525 Hollister Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93110
  • Salvation Army: 423 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
  • Unity Shoppe: 1401 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Learn more about donations here.


  • Call 211 (local) or (800) 400-1572 (toll-free)
  • Call Information Line at (833) 688-5551 or text (805) 699-0165
  • More local resources available here.


Reported by Edhat News
January 9, 2018

Fire personnel has confirmed that at least 8 people were killed in the Montecito mudslides with at least 25 injured on Tuesday.

Heavy early morning rains in the Thomas Fire burn area sent mud and debris crashing into homes, trapping many people. 

Many people are sheltering in place in their homes until they're able to evacuate. All affected areas will be checked three times by rescue personnel for casualties or missing people.

Representatives of Cottage Hospital stated their Level 1 Trauma Center has been designed to handle a large-scale disaster. They were thankfully double staffed at the time of the event as a shift change was just occurring. Approximately 1,377 physicians, volunteers, and staff are on hand to help those who are injured.

Due to the recent flu epidemic, they're asking people who have flu symptoms to determine if they're sick enough for the hospital. If not, please stay at home to make room for people with more severe injuries related to the storm.

At a live press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown stated the main goal for first responders is to look for people who may still be alive and are injured. "We are heartbroken for the loss of life," said Sheriff Brown. They will release the information about the victims once they have been positively identified with the next of kin notified. A list of missing people will be released once all the information is available.

Many people are still trapped in their homes or neighborhoods as roads are inaccessible, but they are reportedly unharmed. Anyone who is in trapped and in danger must call 911 immediately to be rescued. Approximately 300 people that were trapped in the Romero Canyon area have been evacuated. 

Emergency dispatchers handled more than 600 calls between the hours of 3 a.m. - 6 a.m. on Tuesday. Many calls were of people in distress, stranded, and needing immediate rescue. When the daylight came, it "looked like a World War I battlefield," said Sheriff Brown. Knee-deep mud, debris, downed trees and power lines, with lots of obstacles and challenges for rescue personnel.

The Montecito area is now being called an "Active Rescue Zone." Sheriff Brown warned people to steer clear of the area and if people who are unauthorized are found in the area, they will be violating the law and guilty of a misdemeanor that will be enforced.

Many questions at the press conference were directed at the areas designated as mandatory or voluntary evacuations and why the mudslides occurred in areas that officials did not expect. Sheriff Brown answered "this isn't an exact science" and that a team from various agencies gave their "best guess estimate' as to where this would occur and that they were right. He stated they cannot determine the exact house or block that would be directly impacted.

"We do not take evacuation orders lightly," said Brown. "A lot of people chose not to evacuate and stay in place." When reporters asked why people didn't evacuate, Brown said he felt many were frustrated from the extended Thomas Fire evacuations and they probably thought the mudslides weren't going to be a problem, but it was.

The below video, captured by Mike Eliason, depicts rescue crews pulling a 14-year-old girl out of the debris in Montecito home where she was trapped for hours.

Santa Barbara County Fire Search Dog Reilly has been busy looking for victims in damaged and destroyed homes in Montecito following deadly runoff of mud and debris from heavy rain overnight.

Mike Eliason photo

Many of these areas were under mandatory or voluntary evacuations as of Monday afternoon. Many people chose to leave, some chose to shelter in place. 

The power is out in Montecito and surrounding areas of Santa Barbara, transformers and gas lines have been repeatedly breaking. Around 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday, a suspected gas line rupture is believed to set a home on fire on Park Lane.

Highway 101 has been closed between Montecito and Ventura for numerous debris flow and flooding on the road.

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Show Comments
a-1516120547 Jan 16, 2018 08:35 AM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Has there been any information released by the Postal Service as to where/how mail box holders from the Montecito Post Office can get their mail?

gitano Jan 19, 2018 03:38 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Pick up mail at the Post Office distribution center on Nopalitos, close to the intersection of Milpas and Cacique streets. Be prepared to wait in line for a while.

justin.w Jan 15, 2018 06:31 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Does anyone know what happened to the reported 2 year old that was pulled from the rubble early on in this event. I have not read or seen anything more than the initial report that the airway was cleared and that they were taken to the hospital.

Ducky Jan 17, 2018 05:14 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

I read a story somewhere (Independent, I think) that said child is actually a boy and they’re doing fine. He’s the youngest of the Benitez family.

yin yang Jan 16, 2018 08:44 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

I'm torn about your info. I wanted to know also.
But I used to work in a hospital. Are you family?! You don't say they wanted you to post. Hope you're not a hospital employee!!
I wouldn't have posted this.

a-1516120279 Jan 16, 2018 08:31 AM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

The 2 year old has been in the hospital. Had a couple of rough days and either a broken hip or leg, but is doing well now. I saw a video on Friday and looked like a happy but bruised up 2 year old. Father is also in the hospital. Two siblings deceased and mother is one of the three remaining missing.

PamSB Jan 15, 2018 03:05 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

The 53-year old missing man was found Monday in Ventura. Safe and sound. Per news reports.

Roger Jan 15, 2018 03:20 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

I thought Delbert was found the other one wasn't the 53 year old homeless man is still missing it was the 62 year old who was found.

PamSB Jan 14, 2018 12:29 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

As of noon on Sunday, January 14, CNN is reporting that the 20th victim has been found.

"The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office announced Sunday that 30-year-old Pinit Sutthithepa had been found dead. Four people, ranging in age from 2 to 53, remain missing."

jqb Jan 13, 2018 11:38 AM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

I'm an atheist with no love for what is taught in churches, but your comment is vile.

420722 Jan 11, 2018 06:47 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

When I woke up the missing persons report said 48 then they said oops we meant 8. Now they’re saying 43. I know everyone is doing the best job possible to get us accurate information but I think they should hold off until they can give us better accurate information!! I could see if it was off by a few numbers but 40? Seriously?

Kcottrell Jan 11, 2018 08:27 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Right? I’m hoping for another typo, but really they should be more careful when releasing these numbers...

SBPaul Jan 11, 2018 11:24 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Thanks TAGDES. All I know or can say for sure is that from my back yard across town on the back side of the mesa I can see slide scaring the entire way up the south face of our mountain range that was no there before. What ever broke our main came from way uphill and was big enough to bust through concrete and steel that has lasted storms and slides in the past and as you say blow through whatever catches we had in place. The assertion that even 8 million gallons of water pissing through a large pipe at full flow could cause the type of damage that we are seeing is laughable. I have hiked in slot canyons some of the longest in the world and have a very good idea of what it takes to create a flash flood... the math works based off where the water hits and how much it can be absorbed into the terrain before it gets to you down hill. Using those factors you can see why this was so catastrophic. No one expected this to be this bad. But knowing the way flash flooding works, the scale of this damage is in proportion to the type of storm that hit and the condition of the hill at the time. I have family that is flying scientist from up north to survey this because its probably going to change the way we look at flash flooding and community awareness. We will probably learn better ways to design catch basins and water supply protection but its not gonna be because some guy on Noozhawk Or Edhat thought that a pipe burst causing a massive mudslide.

tagdes Jan 11, 2018 07:56 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Most of what you say is true except...there are no longer any containment basins where this occurred. SB Co. Flood Control director Tom Fayram at the 4:00 pm briefing the first day stated they were all wiped out immediately by the debris flow and did nothing to slow the mud and boulder slide. They will be working extra hours to try to create new ones before another large storm. As a retired Co. Public Works Engr. Tech I can tell you that I personally witnessed Granite Const. grading these debris dams back to handle any normal storms. Unfortunately this one was far from normal.

AllanSB Jan 11, 2018 06:10 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Even if 100% of that water (reported 8-9M gallons) made it into the same pathways as the rain, it would most likely be less than 10% of the water flow experienced that day from the rain itself. From the ridgeline down, the mountainous area above Montecito is about the same size as Montecito itself (6,000 acres). Montecito received .54" of rain and Carp .88" according to NASA. An acre of rainfall at 0.5" an hour = 13,577 according to USGS. By that math, which may be low depending on distribution would suggest a total rainfall of around 82 MILLION gallons ABOVE Montecito to flow downhill, and another 82M directly on Montecito itself. Im sure my math has a high margin for error due to terrain but you get the picture. Water break didnt cause the bulk of this

MountainMan4865 Jan 11, 2018 05:22 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Well, according to Noozhawk:

"Its primary distribution water main runs along the reservoirs, which are stationed along East Mountain Drive at a high point in the district.

During the storm, the “highline” water main was taken out at a majority of creek crossings, and then all the reservoirs emptied, Turner said.

The reservoirs, which are large storage tanks, hold 12 million gallons and two were closed at the time.

An estimated 8-9 million gallons flowed out of the reservoirs “with the majority of that going down the creeks” after the pipeline was damaged Tuesday, according to Turner."

tagdes Jan 11, 2018 04:34 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Which i s more common after a heavy rain......termites or conspiracy theorists?

SBPaul Jan 11, 2018 03:43 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

If you really think this was caused by the main from Jameson you are crazy. That water route still has plenty of containment basins to slow its flow. This was widespread across multiple drainage run offs. The idea that someone would actually try and solve this catastrophe or even speculate that their iPhone's ability to shut off a light is comparable to installing valves in concrete that is half a century old is pretty off tone. We can barely convince our state government to provide water to the main reservoirs and now this one is cut off from our town and you think its clever to speculate the effect that a leaking pipe had compared to an entire burnt mountainside. No wonder you post anonymous.

a-1515713466 Jan 11, 2018 03:31 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

The armchair generals, armed with hindsight, have arrived to shoot the survivors.

SBPaul Jan 11, 2018 02:52 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Why didnt you say something last decade when we could have fixed this?

gummybear Jan 11, 2018 09:56 AM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

KEYT keeps giving out wrong numbers. This morning they said that 48 people were missing, but now retracted that number. The other day they said 136 people injured at the hospital, but that was the total number of people that are at the hosptital for other reasons. They are so eager to release new info that they give out wrong info.

Roger Jan 11, 2018 10:17 AM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

I'm sure they are trying their best it's not that they mean to give out the wrong info listening to a scanner it sounds like many more injuries...Some people are ill with medical conditions they had before the mudslide...As far as the missing those numbers change as more people are accounted for.

a-1515602235 Jan 10, 2018 08:37 AM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Will do Roger and I am very sorry for any confusion and misunderstandings my posts may have caused.

passing-by Jan 09, 2018 10:38 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

So where, now, is that guy who was trolling all over yesterday dismissing the various alerts as being totally overstated by incompetent bureaucrats? Seemed to be really enjoying himself at the time.

jqb Jan 13, 2018 11:46 AM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

It's the same piece of garbage that lied about the dangers of ash, cutting off a quote from the authorities halfway through in order to hide the part that spoke of the risks.

a-1515625770 Jan 10, 2018 03:09 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Except the meteorologists were right on the money, and that fool was casting imprecations well *before* the predicted arrival time of the storm. If you're going to whine about some mythical incompetent bureaucracy, you should at least be paying attention and have your own facts straight, especially where peoples' lives are at stake.

a-1515600954 Jan 10, 2018 08:15 AM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Thanks. At least one person around here understood what I was trying to say. I am just as devastated by this tragedy as everyone else and just as speechless thus my lack of further posts.

a-1515599400 Jan 10, 2018 07:50 AM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

Was that person really a troll? Or just someone who was really frustrated by how bad the meteorologists are at timing when things like this will actually occur? That is how I understood those postings at least.

yin yang Jan 09, 2018 05:08 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

And total is up to 13, with what seems to be expectation of more. RIP

Minibeast Jan 09, 2018 02:27 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

I just made out a $30 check to Search Dog Foundation. PayPal takes a percentage and I thought a check would do. Did you see "Reilly" searching through the rubble in Montecito? Please donate, if you can. What a great organization:

a-1515536077 Jan 09, 2018 02:14 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

JASONC70 - At least some of the affected homes were not even in the evacuation zones, so the "multiple warnings" were not applicable.

yin yang Jan 09, 2018 05:08 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

I meant to say that I read that there was destruction in the warning/advised evac zone.

yin yang Jan 09, 2018 05:07 PM
Montecito Mudslide Updates

thank you for the comment I wanted to make hours ago.
Although I hope this has an effect on people's reaction to both orders and warnings. Once you've seen the effects of a mud slide, even just in pictures, you never want to see one in real life.
I'm sure emergency planners have a lot of guilt, in this and every case, when the right steps, IN HINDSIGHT, are not taken.
Sure, mandatory evac zone could've been expanded.
But I saw sheriff Brown say that citizens were very compliant once they asked for help [after the slide]. Turned my stomach. You may feel that way, you DON'T SAY IT IN A PRESS CONFERENCE.
Yes, I have worked with emergency planning and response.
I'm heart sick, had a good cry during the press conference.

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