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US Fires and mudslides have some rethinking the California dream

17:22  12 january  2018
17:22  12 january  2018 Source:   reuters.com

Mudslides threaten California areas scorched by wildfires

  Mudslides threaten California areas scorched by wildfires Evacuations were issued for parts of Southern California that were devastated by wildfires as the first major rainstorm of the season threatened the area."This strong storm is expected to produce heavy rain, high winds and extremely dangerous flash flooding, mud and debris flows," Santa Barbara County officials warned. "Flash floods, mud and debris flows can happen with little or no warning.

“ California is not my favorite place, it never has been,” she said, lamenting the state’s drought and fires and citing Oregon and Canada’s British Columbia as places she Search and rescue workers with dogs scour through properties after a mudslide in Montecito, California , U.S. January 11, 2018.

" California is not my favorite place, it never has been," she said, lamenting the state's drought and fires and citing Oregon and Canada's British Columbia as places she would rather live. As the Thomas Fire crept slowly west toward them, Mark Drost, his wife, Zefea Samson, and their two children, Indira

A few who live amid the usually serene beauty and year-round warmth of Santa Barbara County say nature's recent onslaughts of wildfires and mudslides have dampened their California dreams.

Area destroyed by mudslides was not under mandatory evacuation order

  Area destroyed by mudslides was not under mandatory evacuation order Devastating mudslides that destroyed homes and trapped residents in Montecito on Tuesday occurred in an area that was not under mandatory evacuation orders, officials said. Mud from a swollen creek slammed into homes in the 300 block of Hot Springs Road and nearby streets. Several people in Santa Barbara County died in the mudslides, but it’s unclear how many were in the Montecito neighborhood.The area was not directly in the Thomas fire burn zone, officials said.

Thousands flee as winds whip California fires . A few who live amid the usually serene beauty and year-round warmth of Santa Barbara County say nature's recent onslaughts of wildfires and mudslides have dampened their California dreams .

A few who live amid the usually serene beauty and year-round warmth of Santa Barbara County say nature's recent onslaughts of wildfires and mudslides have dampened their California dreams .

For Hannah Troy, the twin blows of the Thomas Fire, which scorched parts of Santa Barbara last month in the biggest wildfire in the state's history, and this week's deadly mudslides only deepened her unease about the landscapes around her.

"California to me feels like it's just becoming a flourishing tinderbox," Troy said at a Red Cross shelter at a college in Santa Barbara, a wealthy city a couple hour's drive up the Pacific coast from Los Angeles.

Troy, a legal worker in her 50s, was born in New York's Long Island but moved as a child with her parents to Los Angeles. In 2006, she moved to the Montecito area to live with her sister and brother-in-law on a half-acre property, which survived this week with only some uprooted fences.

"California is not my favorite place, it never has been," she said, lamenting the state's drought and fires and citing Oregon and Canada's British Columbia as places she would rather live.

Man hailed as a hero for rescuing baby from mudslides

  Man hailed as a hero for rescuing baby from mudslides First Berkeley Johnson heard the roar, then he saw the rush of mud."Coming up from the river was just trees dropping, and then I saw it, probably 20 feet high of just rock and cars and trunks of trees, and I just ran for it," Johnson told "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor. So he got up on a roof, but said he thought he could die.

A few who live amid the usually serene beauty and year-round warmth of Santa Barbara County say nature's recent onslaughts of wildfires and mudslides have dampened their California dreams . For Hannah Troy, the twin blows of the Thomas Fire

A few who live amid the usually serene beauty and year-round warmth of Santa Barbara County say nature's recent onslaughts of wildfires and mudslides have dampened their California dreams .

As the Thomas Fire crept slowly west toward them, Mark Drost, his wife, Zefea Samson, and their two children, Indira, 7, and Ravi, 4, left behind their Montecito rental and moved to Kailua, Hawaii.

Drost and Samson lead yoga teacher training courses in Hawaii, Florida, New York, Bali and Costa Rica, but the plan for now is to stay in Hawaii for at least six months.

"For me, it was protection of my family and livelihood," Drost said by telephone. "So many people want to live in California, but it comes with these huge risks."

The family still loves Santa Barbara County, and will start reassessing whether to move back in the coming months.

"I'M IN PARADISE"

But for any who have doubts about California as home, there are many more staying put. Local realtors said most people factor in nature's terrifying fury as a cost of living in an archetypal Californian landscape of sandy beaches and forested mountains.

Ellen DeGeneres Struggles to Hold Back Tears as She FaceTimes Oprah Following Deadly Mudslides

  Ellen DeGeneres Struggles to Hold Back Tears as She FaceTimes Oprah Following Deadly Mudslides Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey joined together to discuss the Montecito mudslides that have brought deadly destruction to their neighborhood in Santa Barbara County, California. The death toll from Tuesday’s mudslides currently stands at 17.

" California is not my favorite place, it never has been," she said, lamenting the state's drought and fires and citing Oregon and Canada's British Columbia as places she would rather live. As the Thomas Fire crept slowly west toward them, Mark Drost, his wife, Zefea Samson, and their two children, Indira

CALIFORNIA - MUDSLIDES /REAL ESTATE (PIX): Fires and mudslides have some rethinking the recent onslaughts of wildfires and mudslides have dampened their California dreams . her sister and brother-in-law on a half-acre property, which survived this week with only some uprooted fences.

"We didn't see an uptick in sales, we didn't see a downtick in sales, things just kind of maintained," Bob Hart, executive officer of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, said of the impact of previous natural disasters. "But we never ever had anything this devastating."

Nevertheless, he was not expecting an exodus. "I'm looking out the window right now and I'm in paradise," Hart said by telephone, describing his view a few miles (km) down the road from the devastation in Montecito.

Renee Grubb, a realtor in Montecito, said her inbox was filling up with emails from neighbors seeking a place to rent in town while they clean up or rebuild.

"For most of the people, if you can afford to live in Montecito, you're going to have great insurance and you're going to rebuild," she said by phone.

After previous devastating fires, a few older residents might move from the canyons down to the relatively unperturbed beach-side parts of Santa Barbara, Grubb said. But Montecito's wealthier residents tended to own multi-acre tracts and were not inclined to give up on their million-dollar views, she said.

Jeff Bridges' home 'severely damaged' in California mudslides

  Jeff Bridges' home 'severely damaged' in California mudslides The home could be a total loss."Our home has been severely damaged, but we are safe, and so thankful for that and for the first responders who are working tirelessly to save people," he tweeted on Jan. 11. "We are heartbroken over the loss of lives in our community. Your prayers and best wishes are most appreciated.

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Read the latest on the California mudslides with Wednesday’s updates. CARPINTERIA, Calif. Fires have been a scourge of California — dozens of people were killed in wildfires in Northern California The rains began several hours after midnight Tuesday and in some cases fell an inch per hour; by

Garrett Speirs, a 54-year-old artist, has been living in Montecito for 20 years. He had to evacuate for the Thomas fire, and the wall of mud came up to his back door, but his family's 19th-century house was spared further damage.

"The hiking is amazing here, the beaches, Santa Barbara's got it all but it's a little bit of a dangerous element too," he said. Nevertheless, Speirs said he would stay put.

Psychologist Betsy Bates Freed and her husband, novelist David Freed, have evacuated twice in the past two months.

Just days after cleaning the last of the ash from the Thomas fire out of their canyon property near Carpinteria, the couple were again packing a suitcase and grabbing their dog for what is turning out to be another extended stay away from home.

But they have no plans to leave the area. "No, no," said Bates Freed, 59. "We love the canyon. It's just that being in a serene and beautiful place comes with risks."

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Montecito, Calif., and Jonathan Allen in New York; Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

California mudslide victim found, death toll at 21 .
The body of a 28-year-old California woman, missing since savage mudslides hit nearly two weeks ago, was found Saturday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office said.Faviola Benitez Calderon was one of three people still missing after the catastrophe swept away homes and lives in the coastal town of Montecito.

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