Search Continues for Missing After Mudslides in California

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Southern California deals with dangerous mudslides

Eight people are still missing in deadly mudslides that have claimed 17 lives so far in Santa Barbara County in the western USA state of California, local authorities said Thursday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency shared a warning for California homeowners explaining that homes that had never flooded before were now at risk.

On Wednesday morning, hundreds of people were trapped by debris brought in by the unsafe mudslides.

"It looked like a World War I battlefield", Brown said of the destruction.

The wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres. "It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere, with huge boulders, rocks, downed trees, power lines, wrecked cars".

In addition, "six homes near the coastal community of Montecito were "wiped away from their foundations" by mudflow and debris, '" Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason said, according to the news site.

At least 25 people were injured and several more are unaccounted for after the flash floods hit areas which were ravaged by the largest wildfire in California's history in December.

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The torrent of mud and deadly runoff of debris caused by pounding overnight rains trapped victims in their homes, just one month following the fast-spreading wildfire that raged in the same Southern California region.

"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.

Burned-over zones are especially susceptible to destructive mudslides because scorched earth does not absorb water well and the land is easily eroded when there are no shrubs.

Santa Barbara County has been badly affected, with thousands forced to leave their homes.

On the other end of the Thomas Fire burn area, video from Caltrans showed a portion of State Route 33 had completely washed away.

The National Weather Service told the publication: "Recent burn areas will be especially vulnerable where risky mud and debris flows are possible".

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