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'Landslide Lawyer' Slams Montecito Officials, Says County Should Have Seen This Coming

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) -- Controversy continues to brew over whether or not residents living in the areas hit hardest by the recent mudslides in Montecito were properly warned by Santa Barbara County officials.

Steve Blum, a resident whose home is in one of the most devastated areas of Montecito, told CBS2's Jasmine Viel, "[the county] didn't give any warning to people, which was a mistake."

Blum, who is also a landslide attorney, claimed that the county didn't consult a geologist.

"If they had," said Blum when referring to county officials, "they would've known where the water was going to go."

But warnings for residents to leave had been issued for days before the mudslides through social media, news media and community information emails about the potential for mudflows from the huge wildfire scar in hills above neighborhoods.

Sheriff's deputies also knocked on doors in the mandatory evacuation area to warn residents to leave.

Santa Barbara officials defended their decision not to issue a mandatory evacuation order for the area hit hardest by the storm.

"This isn't an exact science in terms of actually defining where something is going to happen," said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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