Deaths Reported as Mud Sweeps Away Homes in California Burn Areas

The 2017 Thomas fire that burned in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties left behind vast swaths of charred landscape like this area in Upper Rincon Canyon

Deaths Reported as Mud Sweeps Away Homes in California Burn Areas

Berkeley Johnson said the two-year-old girl was taken to hospital and suffered an injury to her hip.

Helicopters were ferrying people out of the Romero Canyon neighborhood, where about 300 people were cut off after a massive debris flow blocked the road into the area.

"I looked out my front window and saw my auto fly by", he said.

The mudslides struck an area that in December 2017, had already suffered the Thomas wildfire, and was spurred by torrential downpours that dropped almost 2.54 cm of rain in less than 15 minutes.

Many people were left waiting for hours in the rubble, waiting for emergency services to rescue them.

At least 25 people were injured, 50 or more had to be rescued by helicopters, and an undetermined number of others were missing, the authorities said.

The hardest hit homes were those that were not in the evacuation zone, officials say.

California rescuers worked through the night plucking stranded Santa Barbara residents from mudslides that have killed at least 15 people and devastated the coastal community after it was drenched by rain, authorities said on Wednesday.

Boulders as big as cars were seen rolling down the hillsides during the deluge.

Among those winched to safety was a 14-year-old girl, who was rescued from a collapsed house in Montecito.

The heavy rains have been unsafe because vegetation is missing - burned away by the Thomas Fire - that would normally help channel the water and mud flow.

"We don't know how many additional people are still trapped", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said on CBS This Morning.

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who has been touted this week as a possible 2020 candidate for the White House, was among those affected by the mudslides.

The US Coast Guard has sent "multiple airships to support rescue operations" and warn the public not to fly drones, otherwise the flights will force to be grounded.

Numerous locations worst affected by the storm had previously been devastated by the worst wildfire in California history, increasing worries about the possibility of mudslides in and around the freshly burned areas as the storm approached Monday. (Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News-Press via Reuters) Emergency personnel evacuate local residents and their dogs through flooded waters after a mudslide in Montecito.

Rob Lowe told his Instagram followers he was "under mandatory evacuation orders again". Down the block, just the crushed roof of a home stuck out of a sea of dark brown mud. Numerous homes that have been destroyed or heavily damaged are in areas that are now inaccessible.

Areas that have been charred by wildfires pose a risk of flash flooding and mudslides as a heavy band of rain moves over Santa Barbara County.

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