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“California Mudslides”

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“California Mudslides”

Claire Henderson, Staff Writer

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At the beginning of January 2018, a mudslide swept through southern California in Montecito in Santa Barbra county and with it came a wave of destruction, death, and devastation.

Mudslides are also known as “debris flows” These mudslides often contain mud, rock, and debris such as trash and other materials. They usually occur when there has been a natural disaster previously; however, they can occur otherwise as well. In the case of this mudslide, there was a large amount of rain and a burn area, along with the steep hills of southern California this made the perfect breeding ground for this natural disaster.

The Thomas fire, the wildfire that occurred in December of 2017, burned more than 280,000 acres and affected Montecito, Carpentaria and other Santa Barbara counties. The fire was the state’s largest wildfire on record, this according to the US Forest Service. This fire allowed for all the soil’s organic matter to be baked out of the Earth and this made it difficult for the Earth to absorb all the rain that occurred after the fire.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates a total of twenty-five to fifty people die each year in the United States due to mudslides. In the case of this mudslide, the local authorities issued an evacuation warning but only ten to fifteen percent of the inhabitants acted on the warning. So far rescue crews have discovered 21 people have died in this most recent mudslide. At least two people are still missing and numerous homes in the area have been destroyed.

 

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