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‘Raising Our Light’ ceremony commemorates fourth anniversary of Montecito Mudslides

MONTECITO, Calif. — It’s been four years since Montecito residents woke up to a massive mudslide.

Not only did the devastating debris flow damage and destroy hundreds of homes but tragically, 23 lives were lost.

On Sunday night, a small ceremony took place at the Montecito Fire Protection District.

For the second straight year, Raising Our Light was live-streamed in an effort to avoid crowds because of the recent uptick in local COVID-19 cases.

This night was all about healing and hope, as the community came together in spirit.

The commemorative ceremony started with a prayer from Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor, before his firefighters lit 23 candles to honor the 23 lives lost in the Debris Flow. 

“It’s my hope that people take away the community and everything that community means,” Taylor said. “How important it is to help, love, nurture, support and raise up one another.”

The candle lighting was followed by a brief moment of silence before bells were rung out 23 times around Montecito.

A searchlight was also illuminated at Montecito Union School, as plenty of people could see it high in the sky.

Bucket Brigade co-founder Abe Powell hoped that the ceremony lifted up everyone.

“When you feel cared for and you feel like your community is there with you, it’s a completely different experience than when you feel like you’re on your own,” he said.

The search light shined bright all night long, symbolizing a beacon of community support and solidarity.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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