Officials Provide Update on Montecito Mudslide and Roadways

Officials Provide Update on Montecito Mudslide and Roadways title=
Officials Provide Update on Montecito Mudslide and Roadways
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A Santa Barbara County Firefighter surveys a drainage culvert Thursday
on Buena Vista Creek near Park Lane in Montecito. (Photo: Mike Eliason)

On Friday afternoon, Santa Barbara County officials held a press conference to provide the public with the most recent information on the Montecito mudslides, the roadways, utilities, and more.

Below is the full video of the conference as well as bullet points from the top items discussed.

Below are the key points from the representatives of specific public agencies:

Montecito Fire Protection District

  • Continue to search for 3 missing people
  • Recovery will take a significant amount of time, but the process to rebuild the community is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Number one priority is to get residents back into their home

Santa Barbara County Fire Department

  • Just under 900 personnel with the #1 priority of finding the missing, crews searching deeper and wider in already searched areas.
  • A lot of debris is hindering their search as its meticulous and a lot of stuff can still collapse.
  • They are developing strategic plans for upcoming weather and storms.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

  • Finding the 3 missing people is the main priority.
    • Crews are checking spots within areas that have been accessible until this point.
    • 16 teams of human remains detection dogs are searching various areas.
    • Search and Rescue teams are all volunteers who have been working continuously since before this incident.
    • Working to get people back into their homes.
  • The process will be incremental and will begin with the business areas first: Coast Village, San Ysidro, the Village
    • Merchants will be brought in within the next few days to assess damage, and then to re-open and provide a center for residents.
  • Heavy law enforcement to protect evacuated homes.
Firefighters look under a bridge at creek in Montecito that was jammed solid with debris from the deadly rains and mudflow January 9. (Photo by Blake Herman/SB County Fire)

California Highway Patrol 

  • Highway 101 is still closed northbound to SR-150 and southbound to Milpas.
  • 28 traffic control points
  • Anyone trying to get through other roadblocks will need identification and credentials
  • Escorts provided for critical employees: health and safety workers, utility works, nurses and doctors
  • Do not use SR-166, a fatal accident occurred earlier today. SR 41/46 is a better route in Paso Robles
  • Google, Waze and other maps will not get you in or around Santa Barbara, they are not accurate and up to date.

California Government Office of Emergency Services

  • Potential for additional weather, considering additional impacts, need to plan and prepare.
  • Residents should listen to warnings and alerts as new weather systems come in.
  • If you've suffered a loss, register for FEMA to see if eligible for disaster assistance.


  • First priority is Highway 101
  • Crews have made tremendous progress.
  • Almost all mud has been cleared away from the roadway, clearing drainage systems, working on guardrails and barriers, repairing signs, final cleaning and sweeping, stabilizing embankments. 
  • Roadway is expected to open in the next few days, an announcement will be made soon.

Southern California Edison

  • Significant progress made in restoration efforts
  • 1,100 edison customers remain without power, crews continue to work around the clock to restore power.
  • Services expected no later than January 31, full restoration may be delayed to new storms and ongoing recovery operations.

So Cal Gas

  • Approximately 1,000 customers have their service restored.
  • Through the weekend crews will restore services to areas north of Coast Village road, Sout of Camino Viejo, east of Augusta Lane, west of Olive Mill.
  • Launched website to provide timely updates and map of areas where gas will be restored.
  • Log in under my account and provide your current email and text so SoCalGas can alert you when your services restored.
  • Those who moved out due to the incident will not be billed, and damaged homes' bills will be forgiven.
  • Do not turn on the gas in your home by yourself, let a technician do it for you, representatives are at the local assistance center.

Montecito Water District

  • Repairs to the water system are ahead of schedule.
  • Transmission main compromised at 7 locations.
  • Majority of repairs are expected to be completed by Monday, January 22.
  • 19 fire hydrants were sheared, they have been located, turned off and either repaired or replaced.
  • Available water varies by location, below East Valley Road there has been water since the incident.
  • Boil water notice remains in effect. Partialcancellation for: Summerland and upper Toro Canyon.
  • Water may be availalbe as soon as Monday. All dist customers remain under boil water notice unless otherwise indicated.
  • Customers should anticipate high levels of chlorine in the water. 

Montecito Sanitary District

  • Waste Water Treatment Plant was unharmed.
  • All back up to generators kicked in after the power outage.
  • Treatment of wastewater continues to take place.
  • Crews are assessing the wastewater collection system.
  • All 4 lift stations are intact and functioning.
  • As of today, crews have visually inspected 1350 manholes, 1100 of those manholes are in good condition.
  • Cres have not identified any severed pipelines 
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a-1550318718 Jan 20, 2018 05:22 PM
Officials Provide Update on Montecito Mudslide and Roadways

Does any kind person have a tip which would definitely get results to remove a vehicle which landed on my property due to this tragedy? So far, I'm not getting any where with this situation. Thanks for any input.

EastBeach Jan 20, 2018 06:21 PM
Officials Provide Update on Montecito Mudslide and Roadways

Aha, I found a number you could try. This was in a recent Noozhawk article and could help you find the owner of the vehicle you found ... "CHP Capt. Cindy Pontes said those looking for their abandoned vehicles on Highway 101 or county roadways are asked to call 805.477.4174 — have your license plate number or vehicle identification available."

EastBeach Jan 20, 2018 06:10 PM
Officials Provide Update on Montecito Mudslide and Roadways

I suppose this depends on whether you want to remove the vehicle unilaterally or in cooperation with the owner. There was a phone number officials had posted for vehicles "abandoned" or lost during the mudslides. I haven't been able to find it, but if someone does, perhaps you can report the license plate to that number to get in touch with the owner and work things out?

a-1550318718 Jan 19, 2018 10:55 PM
Officials Provide Update on Montecito Mudslide and Roadways

Wow! That picture of the debris stuck at the tunnel puts it all in to perspective for me now. This has been such a tragedy. Where I live in Carpinteria, the same thing happened to the tunnel that runs behind my pad, but it kept my home safe. I feel so badly for those who were on the other side. I am still waiting for the freeway to open so I can check my area finally. God Bless those who lost everything including family and friends.

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