Santa Barbara County’s Montecito community has been reeling following deadly mudslides from heavy rains upon a fire-ravaged landscape. At least 17 people died in the mudflows, and over 100 homes in Montecito were destroyed (some swept off foundations) in the neighborhood shared by Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. The two previously shared images from the catastrophe, and on Thursday, Ellen — who evacuated and has been unable to check on her house — FaceTimed with Oprah, who is still at her home, which (miraculously) only suffered minor damage while nearby houses were crushed.
Winfrey also brought some firefighters, who received an enormous round of applause, on camera while telling Ellen that she’s not fleeing Montecito because she wants to do whatever possible to help her community. She commented on how the sky looked red — “I didn’t know at the time that there were some gas fires, something exploded” — and then the mudslides began. It took awhile for reality to set in for Winfrey the next morning:
“I’m looking out the front window, I think everything’s fine, everything’s fine — and it wasn’t until I put my boots on walking and I realized everything … wasn’t fine at all. All of my neighbors’ homes are gutted … The neighbors out back, their houses are gone.”
Oprah continued, commenting upon how she shares a fence with Ellen and how several nearby homes are simply “gutted.” Fortunately for Winfrey, her house is located on a knoll, so she feels safe for now, even though her home won’t have water or gas service until further notice.
In the below clip, Ellen uses her monologue to explain how much she loves Montecito. The host grows quite upset while revealing how she and wife Portia DeRossi had returned on December 27 from fire evacuations, only to be ordered to evacuate again on Sunday. “This room is always filled with positivity and love and today I really need it,” she began. “Today I need you because there’s a lot going on in my life right now.”
Our community of Montecito has been through a lot. pic.twitter.com/Kp92OzqPEM
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 11, 2018
(Via Ellen on YouTube)