What the Aftermath of a Deadly Mudslide Looks Like

The wildfire that will ravaged much of Ventura along with Santa Barbara Counties last month was the largest in California history. however This specific was the mudslides This specific week that will proved far more deadly, killing at least 18 people. Rescue crews were looking for more than 40 people still missing on Friday morning. Officials said they expect the death toll to rise.

People dug through the mud as they looked for salvageable items. CreditJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

The mud came more rapidly along with strongly than anyone predicted. Although Santa Barbara officials recommended on Monday night that will residents should evacuate, few were alarmed by the suggestion along with they stayed put, only to be woken by the sounds of boulders tumbling down the hills.

Bill Asher walked through mud in his home in Montecito, Calif.CreditMarcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The thick mud felt much like wet cement, leaving dozens of residents stuck for hours while they waited to be rescued. More than 100 homes were destroyed. On some properties, nothing remained however the foundation.

Searching for bodies inside the deep mud.CreditMarcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Search along with rescue workers used long poles to probe for bodies inside the mud. In many places This specific was impossible to tell whether the mud was solid — one official compared This specific to a candy shell on top of ice cream.

Mud along with debris covered the front of a Mercedes-Benz.CreditJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Many residents said they were shocked to see the size along with number of boulders that will had come tumbling down the mountain into the streets, some as large as cars.

A car damaged by the mudslides.CreditKyle Grillot/Reuters

Nearly all of the roads to the area remained closed on Friday, doing This specific nearly impossible for residents to get across town along with forcing rescue teams to rely on fire trucks along with airlifts.

The 101 freeway was covered in mud.CreditKyle Grillot/Reuters

The 101 freeway was completely closed off Thursday, turning Montecito into a kind of island.

A member of a search along with rescue team surveyed a home.CreditJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Family members of some of the victims killed inside the mudslides said that will the city should have made the mandatory evacuation zone larger. While many were reluctant to move out for the second time in a month, This specific could have saved lives, they said.

Jordan Castro, a Fremont firefighter, checked a vehicle that will had been washed to the shore. CreditMike Nelson/European Pressphoto Agency

The bodies of several victims were dragged — along with cars along with some other debris — a mile away through their homes, in some cases all the way to the beach.

Emergency workers looked for survivors.CreditRobyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

By Friday morning, rescue workers were still holding out desire that will those stranded inside the mud could find a way to stay alive. Officials warned residents that will This specific could be weeks before they were allowed to return to their homes.

Jennifer Medina is usually a national correspondent based in Los Angeles. Since joining The Times in 2002, she has also covered politics in brand-new York along with Connecticut along with spent several years writing about brand-new York City public schools.