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17 dead, 17 missing after flooding and mudslides force thousands to flee in California

At least 17 people are dead, 17 are missing and more than two dozen are injured in California from weather-related incidents, Santa Barbara County officials said Wednesday. The southern part of the state has been drenched with severe rain just weeks after several fires tore through the area.

Flash flooding, debris flow and mudslides are punishing the communities hit hard by the Thomas and La Tuna fires, prompting “dozens and dozens” of rescues on the ground, a spokesperson from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department told ABC News

Many more are feared to be dead and buried beneath the mud. At least 17 people have been reported missing, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Wednesday.

More than 500 first responders and 10 dogs are working on the search-and-rescue efforts in the region, focusing on a list of missing people and their addresses, fire officials said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Hundreds of people have already been rescued, many of whom had to be hoisted out of the mud-filled area by aircraft, Brown said.

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