Fire, mudflows, evacuations and deaths: Maps show how Montecito has been hit

A home in the Romero Canyon area is surrounded by mud and debris in Montecito in an aerial view from a California National Guard Blackhawk Helicopter used for hoist rescues of victims of the mud and debris flows in Montecito.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Thomas fire began its destructive march 30 miles east of Montecito on Dec. 4. Two weeks later, the blaze had begun to bear down on the city, eventually leaving fire-scarred hillsides prone to deadly mudflows.

Thomas fire progression

The Thomas fire became California's largest wildfire on record, burning more than 280,000 acres across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Raoul Ranoa/@latimesgraphics

Debris flow potential

In the weeks since the deadly fire, the U.S. Geological Survey studied the burn area to determine its vulnerability to flash floods, mudslides and debris flows. The likelihood of a debris flow is based on a peak 15-minute rainfall intensity of 24 millimeters per hour. Scientists used burn severity, soil properties, rainfall data and a number of other factors for their estimation.

Raoul Ranoa/@latimesgraphics

Stormy Tuesday

On Tuesday, Jan. 9., California’s first major storm in nearly a year unleashed additional devastation in the burn zone. Up to 4 inches of rain fell on the Montecito area.

Len DeGroot/@latimesgraphics, NOAA, National Weather Service

Evacuation zones

As of Thursday, Jan. 11, at least 17 people had died in the mudslides, and at least eight people were still unaccounted for.

Data as of Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 Raoul Ranoa/@latimesgraphics

Sources: Santa Barbara County, U.S. Geological Survey Landslide Hazards Program, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Inciweb, Mapzen, OpenStreetMap, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service

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