Why Mudslides Occur After Large Wildfires Like the California Thomas Fire and How to Protect Yourself From Them
In January of 2018, the relief from hazardous weather and extreme conditions did not appear to be in sight for residents of the Golden State. Devastating mudslides in California killed at least 20 people in early January in the coastal town of Montecito. Downed trees and power lines as well as cascading boulders made the task of getting to those needing assistance difficult. The excessive flooding and debris made air transport the only viable form of rescue. Helicopters loaned by Ventura’s Air Squad 6 dedicated were used to pluck more than 50 people from rooftops from parts of Montecito and Santa Barbara.
As of mid-January, the relief and search effort numbered 3,000 workers from local, state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and the American Red Cross. Details regarding the victims’ circumstances before the mudslides emerged from rescuers. As the saturated hillsides gave way, the torrent of mud, water, and other debris was said to have swept the casualties away while they slept. The mudslides were triggered by a powerful storm that hit the region along with mountainous areas that were stripped of vegetation burned bare by the gigantic December 2017 Thomas fire. Let’s take a look at how the wildfires that raged through the area late last year have made the mudslides more devastating.