Montecito Mudslide Cases

Early January 9, 2018, a rainstorm occurred over the areas impacted by the Thomas Fire, as well as other areas, causing massive and unusual amounts of runoff and erosion in the Los Padres National Forest, steep mountains and slopes adjacent to and north of Montecito all due to the fact that the Thomas Fire had rendered the areas devoid of vegetation and organic surface litter, reducing the amount of water taken up by plants or absorbed into the soils, removed the forest canopy exposing the areas to the erosive power of high-intensity rainfall, and rendered the soils hydrophobic.

Defendant Montecito Water District (“MWD”) provides the drinking water and water to fire hydrants in, among other places, Montecito, California and it owns and operates a municipal water supply and storage system in the hills above Montecito, California. MWD serves approximately 4,500 customers in Montecito and Summerland, California.

Its primary distribution water main runs from reservoirs which are located along East Mountain Drive, a high elevation point in the area served by MWD. The reservoirs are large storage tanks that hold a total of 12 million gallons.

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In the News: Montecito Mudslides

Below are some recent articles featuring the Montecito Mudslides. The first AP piece listed here appeared in more than 50 publications today. The second AP piece listed ran in more than a dozen publications today, including the Washington Post.

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Thomas Fire Cases

This case arises from the Thomas Fire, which is the largest wildfire in California’s history and the deadly mudflows that followed on or about January 8, 2018. According to Cal Fire, the Thomas Fire broke out in the hills above Steckel Park in Santa Paula at approximately 6:26 p.m. on December 4, 2017. The initial ignition of the Thomas fire was caused when a pole-mounted transformer owned and operated by SCE exploded and caught fire on Anlauf Canyon Road above Steckel Park in Santa Paula.

Thomas FireAt approximately 7:00 p.m. on December 4, 2017, another transformer located on a utility pole owned and operated by SCE on Koenigstein Drive, Santa Paula (Upper Ojai) exploded and caught fire, sending a shower of sparks and flames down into the surrounding vegetation. This transformer explosion was witnessed by several area residents. This transformer fire was a second ignition point of the Thomas Fire and was located approximately 5.8 miles from the initial ignition point on Anlauf Canyon Road, Santa Paula.

The Thomas Fire spread quickly, pushed by strong Santa Ana winds and dry vegetation created by years of drought conditions in Southern California and spread from Ventura County into Santa Barbara County and grew to approximately 281,893 acres and ravaged the Los Padres National Forest, mountains and slopes located adjacent to and north of Montecito, burning almost all vegetation from those areas.

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Our team was the first to take legal action to hold Southern California Edison accountable for its negligence and seek the cost to rebuild our clients' homes and businesses lost in the Thomas Fire and Montecito Mudslide. This is not just another case to our lawyers. It's personal.