By Michael Balsamo | Associated Press
Eight large excavators were being used to clear the debris from Montecito Creek, Tom Fayram, the deputy director of the county’s flood control district, said.
The mudslides ravaged the tony community, destroying at least 65 homes and damaging more than 460 others, officials said. Firefighters went door to door along several blocks, checking the structural integrity of the damaged homes.
In addition to trying to find those who are still missing after Tuesday morning’s storm, crews have made it a top priority to clear out debris basins and creek canals before another rainstorm. Long-range forecasts gave the crews about a week before the next chance of rain — and potential new mudslides — although the precipitation was expected to be disorganized and light. Another system was possible two days later.
“Two days ago I passed by an area where there was no creek and today I went by and the creek was fully restored,” he said. “We are making great progress and we have several days before that next storm.”
Another body was found Sunday, bringing the number of fatalities to 20, Santa Barbara County spokesman Justin Cooper said. The coroner’s office would identify the latest victim, he said. Four people still remain missing.