Battered by Recent Fires and Floods, Montecito Braces for More Potential Destruction

It started four months ago, when the largest fire on record in California history besieged this upscale coastal enclave.

Residents and volunteers fill sandbags at Manning Park in Montecito as people prepare for a storm. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Residents and volunteers fill sandbags at Manning Park in Montecito as people prepare for a storm. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Soon after, heavy rains sent tons of mud, boulders and debris crashing into Montecito neighborhoods — killing 21 people in what was the state's deadliest flooding in decades.

Now, forecasters are predicting more trouble for the beleaguered town. The most powerful rainstorm of the year is expected to deliver a direct hit to areas burned in the Thomas fire, bringing with it fears of new destructive mudslides. Authorities have ordered about 21,000 residents in Santa Barbara County to flee, marking the sixth evacuation since December for some.

"I've gotten to the point where I just leave all my important documents in a zip-lock bag, ready to take at a moment's notice," said Montecito resident Ashley Mayfield.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.