Montecito, CA

"American riviera"

Pulling together to dig the community out from under the mud — literally. (Credit: Sandy Stahl)

After the Thomas Fire in December 2017, when all of Montecito was evacuated for over a week, including shops and restaurants and other businesses, people moved back home. Then, on January 9, 2018 a 200 year storm hit and a debris flow followed, which buried hundreds of homes in mud and cost 22 people their lives. Another evacuation followed. Almost immediately after the residents were allowed back, a few people got together, led by Abe Powell, and formed the “Bucket Brigade.” Little by little more people joined them with picks and shovels and started helping residents dig out their homes. This led to hundreds of volunteers working tirelessly to remove mud. They even had special groups to dig out the beloved oak trees, which otherwise would have suffocated.

Mud removal. (Credit: Sandy Stahl)

Stories About Montecito

Another group was formed by Ron Blitzer called the 93108Fund. It collected money to then distribute it to workers who had no income throughout all the evacuations…waiters, waitresses, retail workers, gardeners, housekeepers, and others who not only had no work but for awhile no way to get to work even had they tried to as the 101 Freeway was closed and no one could get in or out from Ventura where many of these workers lived.

Raising money for the 93108Fund. (Credit: Sandy Stahl)