Mudslides, rain replace fires in California, killing 6

Some areas have been hit with waist-deep mudflows and downed trees and power lines. (Image: YouTube)

Updated: 1:15 p.m. ET

(Bloomberg) — Two days of rain led to at least six deaths, knocked out power and partially closed a major highway in California just weeks after forest fires denuded the landscape.


U.S. Route 101, a major artery for coastal commuters, was partly shut down Tuesday morning between the cities of Santa Barbara and Ventura, the California Highway Patrol said. Mandatory orders to evacuate were issued Monday for some communities, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s office. Numerous neighborhoods in the area lost electricity, according to Southern California Edison Co.

Related: Here are 12 ways to protect your life and property from a landslide

Some areas have been hit with waist-deep mudflows and downed trees and power lines, the Santa Barbara fire department said. A number of people have been rescued from buildings and stuck cars. A photo on social media showed mud in the living room of a home in Montecito.

The region northwest of Los Angeles was hard hit last year by the Thomas fire, a conflagration that burned almost 282,000 acres and about 1,000 structures. The fire left many areas, some right along the freeway, bereft of trees and other vegetation that might have stopped the slide of mud and rocks propelled by rushing rainwater.

Traffic accidents

Five deaths were reported in the Montecito area, said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for Santa Barbara’s Incident Management Team. Weather conditions likely also contributed to a Monday death following a multi-vehicle traffic collision in an unincorporated area of Ventura County, California Highway Patrol’s Moorpark division said on Twitter.

A fatal collision Tuesday involving an overturned big rig may have been related to the rain, said California Highway Patrol Sergeant Kris Ulibarri.

The rain, which has fallen throughout the state, is expected to continue to Tuesday evening.

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