Montecito Ordered to Evacuate as Mudslide Danger Rises in California

The evacuation order came five years after a mudslide killed 23 people and destroyed homes in the Santa Barbara County community.

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By Jill Cowan and Victoria Kim

CARPINTERIA, Calif. — Thousands of residents were ordered to quickly evacuate Montecito on Monday as another major California storm threatened to unleash dangerous mudslides, five years to the day that a deadly torrent of mud and boulders rushed through neighborhoods in the Santa Barbara County enclave.

Up to a foot of rain was expected to soak the already drenched hillsides there on Monday alone, with the area at high risk of mud flows because of recent wildfires that have made soils and vegetation less stable. The 2018 mudslide killed 23 people and turned the normally pristine mansion community into a disaster area.

We’re in the midst of a series of significant and powerful storms,” Sheriff Bill Brown of Santa Barbara County said in a briefing. “Currently, we’re experiencing a storm that is causing many problems and has the potential to cause major problems across our county, especially in the burn scar areas.”

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