And because of the fire, communities below the scarred terrain could remain at risk of mudslides for years, said Randall Jibson, a research geologist with the US Geological Survey.
Tuesday's mudslides in Santa Barbara County were the result of wildfires followed by a heavy storm that sent rivers of debris streaming down steep hillsides. The names were released following the notification of next of kin.
Riskin Partners, the luxury real estate team of Village Properties, announced that partner Rebecca Riskin, who had been reported missing, had died in the onslaught.
The statement says Riskin was an "exceptional woman" who had exuded strength, grace and elegance.
Weinert's house was somehow spared but one of his neighbors, Riskin, was swept to her death.
An orthopedic surgeon and his daughter were also among the 17 victims. Families were ripped apart, being swept away, with some victims surviving, while some did not.
Santa Barbara rescuers will receive extra help today from Los Angeles County, the Coast Guard and National Guard.
SIXTEEN people are dead, 24 are missing and at least 300 are trapped by devastating mudslides which oozed their way through a wealthy neighbourhood in California. "We certainly are searching for a miracle right now", Brown said Thursday.
As of Thursday afternoon, up to 43 people were unaccounted for following Tuesday's massive mudflow, though officials said that number is highly fluid.
Boulders are strewn in front of an entrance to the Riven Rock neighborhood in Montecito.
Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Amber Anderson said Wednesday two dozen people remained missing.
An estimated 65 homes were destroyed with hundreds of others damaged.
Caltrans crews are working to fix inundated portions of Highway 101, but the freeway isn't expected to be reopened until Monday at the earliest, according to CHP Capt. Cindy Pontes.
Only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of residents fled when ordered and much of the damage occurred where evacuations were voluntary.
"Most injuries we saw were related to fast-moving debris", Wilson said.
Handout. / Reuters A man is rescued from flood waters and debris in Montecito.
Many of those who survived the flooding and aftermath have been sharing their stories.
The broadcasts went all day, some repeats, some live updates, into the night.
"I am blessed and I am going to do whatever I can for the rest of the community", she said, "and we all just love the firefighters".
"I should have evacuated", she said. "Before you knew it, the water was like five feet over the bridge, and just everything - trees, boulders - were flowing through". Residents in Montecito woke to crashing noises and knee-deep muck, posting videos on social media of thrashed homes and cars in a thick, soupy water.
Just in the past month, the film consultant, along with her pair of dogs, had spent two nights in a Red Cross shelter, a night in her minivan, and two weeks with a friend in Paso Robles, about 100 miles north on the now-blocked Highway 101.
"We know that this a terribly inconvenient development, but it is also incredibly necessary", Brown said. At least 28 people were wounded in the storm, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
While Montecito is best known as a getaway for the rich and famous - the median home price among current listings is more than $4 million - there are also working families living in modest houses and apartments.
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