Crews slowly making progress removing debris after mudslides in California

Crews pump mud on Highway 101 after a mudslide Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in Montecito, Calif. Most of the people of Montecito, a town usually known for its serenity and luxury, were under orders to stay out of town as gas and power were expected to be shut off Saturday for repairs. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) – Recovery crews are slowly making progress digging away masses of mud, boulders and toppled trees in a California community that was ravaged by deadly mudslides.

But officials said Saturday they believe they’ve already removed enough debris from creek canals to prevent another potential disaster when the next rainstorm hits.

On Tuesday, a powerful storm sent flash floods cascading through mountain slopes that were burned bare by a huge wildfire in December. At least 19 people were killed and five others were reported missing.

Workers were using backhoes, jackhammers and chain saws to clear the debris in Monticeto. The county’s emergency management chief warned that debris basins have to be cleared before the next storm, which could hit the region next week.

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