Two more mudslide victims found in California, death toll now 17

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown confirmed Friday afternoon that 18 people have been killed by the flooding and mudslides in Montecito.

A family of five have been rescued from their home following devastating mudslides in California.

"There's no way that we should have found that child, and probably 15 more minutes, it wouldn't have been alive because it was cold and it had been there for a while", he added.

"It looked like a World War I battlefield", Brown said of the destruction. Its residents include celebrities such as TV presenters Oprah Winfrey, whose home has suffered some damage, and Ellen DeGeneres.

"At least several dozen homes that have been either destroyed or severely damaged, and likely many other ones are in areas that are as-yet inaccessible".

Mike Eliason, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, said that with blue skies overhead Wednesday, officials were working to clear the trees, boulders, downed power lines and detritus from people's homes that had been swept onto the roads. A Santa Barbara County fire official, who declined to provide his name, called what he say a scene out of a disaster movie.

But the wooded hillsides that once gave their estates a sense of seclusion were largely denuded by last year's historic wildfires, setting the stage for the massive slides that slammed into homes, turned highways into raging rivers and shredded cars into almost unrecognizable tangles of metal after heavy Tuesday rains.

In an Instagram post she shared photographs of the deep mud in her backyard and video of rescue helicopters hovering over her house.

After a wildfire, burned vegetation and charred soil created a water repellent layer which blocked water absorption and led to an increased risk of mudslides and floods.

Donate directly through their website and select "Southern California Fires & Mudslides" from the drop-down menu.

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

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

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