1st District Supervisor Das Williams: The Montecito Mudslides

This past week has been the most challenging our community has ever faced. As a result of Tuesday morning’s flood event in Montecito, there are 18 confirmed deaths, with that number expected to continue to grow, 28 people injured, and people still missing (it’s a number that fluctuates frequently and is difficult to know for sure). Over 2000 responders are on the incident and continue to search for survivors. They began a second pass through structures today. 65 homes and 8 commercial properties have been destroyed, and 462 homes and 20 commercial properties have been damaged. Roads don’t exist anymore. Montecito is forever changed.

It is absolutely essential that people stay out of the area so our crews can focus on finding survivors and clearing out roads so we may be able to open them again to the public. That’s why the whole area of the incident is now under mandatory evacuation. If you know anyone who lives within the area defined by the thick black line on this map, please contact them, urge them to leave, and offer them a place to stay. Please keep in mind that they do not have Internet or cable so the only way to reach them is by phone.

Fortunately, Internet was restored to Summerland and Carpinteria today so they will have more access to the news. My office and I have been in constant contact with people in the affected area to provide updates and coordinate essentials. The area has also been under a boil water notice due to extensive damage that was sustained to Montecito Water District’s infrastructure. Gas has been shut off to Montecito due to instability in the area, and water bottles have been distributed at the fire station on Sycamore Canyon and in the Upper Village. Water is also being distributed to Summerland, also a part of the Montecito Water District, at the Post Office.

The 101 is open southbound starting at Padaro, and Padaro is open in both directions. The rest of the 101 is closed for an undetermined amount of time. There is a tremendous amount of water on the freeway. Every time they remove some, more flows in from the roads above. It is going to take a significant amount of time to clean. Amtrak has resumed service in the area and they’ve added cars on the train due to the high volume of riders. You can get tickets here. Condor Express and Island Packers are also providing ferry service between Ventura and Santa Barbara Harbor. I used the ferry to get to Santa Barbara on Thursday by driving to Ventura and taking the boat to Santa Barbara and took the train home to Carpinteria today.

There are so many layers to this event. It’s been incredibly exhausting and draining for our whole community but especially for those who have lost loved ones and their homes. So please take this opportunity to be grateful for what you have, and practice patience with each other as we get through this together.

Montecito’s elected representatives are organizing a vigil in Santa Barbara on Sunday from 5-6pm at the Courthouse to give the community a chance to come together and mourn. Community members in Carpinteria are organizing a vigil at the Seal Fountain in Carpinteria at 6pm. Unfortunately due to the closure of the 101 and the unsafe conditions of roads our whole community can’t be together but we will be soon enough. We will get through this and we will rebuild. We need to practice a whole lot of patience until we get there.

I hope to see you this weekend. Please be safe and love each other.



Das Williams: 

1st District Supervisor, Former Assemblymember at California State Assembly, Former Councilmember At-Large at City of Santa Barbara, Studied Environmental science at University of California, Santa Barbara,Studied Environmental Science and Management at UCSB,Studied at UC Berkeley

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