HAZMAT units being sent to mudslide areas as part of “Strike Teams”

Strike teamStrike teamStrike team

HMN-Scenes like the one above are becoming all too common for California.  From the devastatingly busy wildfire season, to the mudslides in recent days, staging response crews are ready.  Pictured above is a Hazardous Material Response vehicle that has been sent out as part of a Type 1 Strike Team. These teams are commonly used on brush fires, and are dispatched in sets of 5 engines, with one battalion chief.  In this case, the Strike Team has been sent out as part of the recent mudslide response. Here in staging they wait, with several US&R teams.

According to NBC, the mudslides have ruptured a gas line near the 101, which has lead to its partial shut down.

Thirteen people are dead following a powerful overnight storm that swept through Santa Barbara County and unleashed flooding and mudslides that carried boulders and debris through neighborhoods.

The damaging mud and debris flows, which ruptured a gas line and closed part of the 101 Freeway and other roads, slammed through Montecito early Tuesday. At least 25 people were injured and several homes were swept off their foundations by powerful floodwaters. Search dogs worked on rubble piles and helicopter crews surveyed the area from above, looking for victims and lifting them to safety in the community northwest of Los Angeles.

Firefighters Rescue Montecito Girl Trapped for Hours

“We’re performing multiple rescues. There will be more,” Santa Barbara County Fire Department Capt. Dave Zaniboni said, adding that some of those brought to safety were buried in mud.

There was a backlog of scores of callers requesting help.

A Bird’s Eye View of Debris in Montecito After the Storm

Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Amber Anderson said helicopters are being used for rescues because roads are blocked by downed trees and power lines. at least 50 helicopter hoist rescues were reported by midday.

The mud flow also prompted the closure of the 101 Freeway. All major roads connected to the 101 Freeway were also closed near Montecito.

Firefighters Use Rescue Dog to Look for Victims in Montecito

The freeway looked like a river near Olive Mill Road, where water running off from Montecito Creek flooded the road. John Rios lives near the creek that swelled overnight.

Montecito Hit Hard by Storm

“It took everything in its path,” Rios said. “There’s really not much of anything left.

The debris and mud flows were first reported along with a house fire before 4 a.m. on the 800 block of Park Hill Avenue, according to Ventura CHP. Officials later confirmed the fire was related to a gas leak that was caused by the debris flow.

Firefighters Carry Out Rescue as Floodwaters Trap Car

The flooding comes just weeks after the Thomas fire burned nearly 282,000 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, stripping hillsides of vegetation needed to stem water runoff during rainstorms. Burn areas are more susceptible to flooding because rain bounces off the barren surface instead of being absorbed into the soil.

The maximum rainfall occurred in a 15-minute span starting at 3:30 a.m. near the Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria areas of Santa Barbara County. Montecito got more than a half-inch in five minutes, while Carpinteria received 0.86 inches in 15 minutes.

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