Many celebrities who have homes in Montecito have discussed the mudslides on social media, giving first-hand accounts of the incident and offering their condolences to those who lost their lives. Only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of residents fled their homes when ordered, and much of the damage occurred where evacuation orders were voluntary.
"We've gotten multiple reports of rescuers falling through manholes that were covered with mud, swimming pools that were covered up with mud", said Anthony Buzzerio, a Los Angeles County fire battalion chief.
Another emergency management official told the Los Angeles Times that county officials decided not to use the its push alert system to cellphones earlier out of concern that it might not be taken seriously. "If you cry wolf, people stop listening".
Santa Barbara County said emergency permits don't require testing of the material for hazards but that public health authorities were testing the ocean waters.
"Disasters are very dynamic in danger".
Brown said the recovery effort has been hindered by residents who had stayed behind or tried to check on damage in neighborhoods where homes were leveled and car-size boulders blocked roads and littered properties.
Flash floods swept down hillsides, unleashing torrents of mud, and uprooted trees and boulders into the valley below. A new mandatory evacuation order went into effect at 6 p.m. Thursday. His birthday was Monday.
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About half of the team protected multimillion-dollar homes in the same area, along the same streets, Cold Springs and Hot Springs roads, about three weeks ago.
Tanker trucks sucked muddy water from flooded sections of USA 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.
More: 30 square miles.
The sheriff's office says Weltzin and the Keating who is still missing are homeless men who frequent the Montecito area. "We know that this is terribly inconvenient and understand many of you were previously evacuated".
The order to stay away was another hard turn for those living in the Southern California town that has been subject to repeated evacuation orders in recent weeks, first because of a monster wildfire last month, then because of downpours and mudslides.
In the disaster impact zone, searchers used chain saws and rakes to remove logs and sift through the remnants of what was left of multimillion-dollar homes.
"At this moment, we are still looking for live victims", Santa Barbara Fire Capt. Gary Pitney said. The fire started more than a month ago. This time, a voluntary evacuation order was issued for their area and the family discussed leaving but chose to ride it out.
Marco Farrell, a real estate agent, cited "evacuation fatigue" as his reason not to leave - a decision he wouldn't make next time. "I tried to get out every single way and there was no way out". "Definitely go", he said.