In early January of this year, rain hit the Santa Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara County, CA, in areas where recent wildfires had caused massive devegetation and destabilized the soil. The tragic and devastating results were mudflows up to 15 feet high carrying debris, boulders, and trees and moving at an estimated 20 miles per hour.
Twenty-three lives were lost. More than one hundred homes were destroyed. A 30-mile stretch of US Highway 101 was shut down.
More than two months after the disaster, cleanup and recovery efforts are continuing.
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A few days ago I visited the affected areas. There was still a good amount of heavy equipment working to dig out from under the mud, and moving boulders and debris. I had a disheartened, sinking feeling walking around. But I admit there was also an urge to roll up my sleeves and get to work putting everything back to the way it was.
There are contractors here who have been hired to do the cleanup. I have no doubt many of them are also motivated by the simple kindness of helping a neighbor who just lost everything.
I snapped these photos to share with you: