Sacramento, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted the state’s request for expanded federal disaster assistance in response to the devastating mudslides that have impacted Santa Barbara County and the community of Montecito.
“Our hearts break for the communities first ravaged by fires and now devastated by these mudslides. We will push for every available resource to help Californians recover from these tragedies,” said Governor Brown.
FEMA expanded the recently approved Presidential Major Disaster Declaration in the areas affected by the December 2017 wildfires to include damage incurred from flooding and mud and debris flows. This declaration ensures that federal funds are available for emergency response and eligible disaster recovery costs.
The Thomas Fire, in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, is 92 percent contained and has burned over 280,000 acres and destroyed nearly 1,000 structures, leading to dangerous mud and debris flows following recent heavy rains.
In response to the mudslides, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) activated the State Operations Center in Mather, California and is coordinating closely with local, state and federal emergency response agencies to address all emergency management needs.
Multiple state resources have been mobilized in Santa Barbara County, including: urban search and rescue teams and emergency management personnel from Cal OES; high-water vehicles for evacuations and helicopters from the California National Guard; and personnel from the California Department of Transportation and California Highway Patrol, who are working together to reroute traffic and clear Highway 101 and other roadways.