Some of Montecito's famous residents — Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey — are speaking out about the devastating mudslides that have ravaged Southern California.
The one-two punch of fire and downpour-fueled debris flows have debilitated the affluent, picturesque community of about 10,000 people. The slides have killed at least 17, destroyed an estimated 100 homes, and sent rescuers scrambling through the rubble searching for dozens who are missing.
"This room is always so full of positivity and love and today, I really need it," DeGeneres told the audience of her daytime talk show Thursday.
"One of the things that I want to talk about is, you know, we’ve had these terrible fires all over California and one of the hardest hit areas is where I live in Montecito," she continued. DeGeneres said following the blazes, she was able to return to her house at the tail-end of last month. She said she was filled with pride to see signs throughout the community of people expressing their gratitude to firefighters and first responders. "I just love this place," she said.
However, DeGeneres shared the rain washed away her short-lived bliss.
"Sunday night, Portia (de Rossi) and I got a call that we’re under mandatory evacuation again, with most of the community of Montecito. So again, we evacuated because they feared mudslides," the host said. "After everything we’ve been through, I think a lot of people thought they were just being overly cautious, but exactly what they feared happened. The rain triggered massive mudslides. Massive."
"There are families missing, there are people who are missing family members," DeGeneres said. "They’re finding people and bodies and I mean, you hear the word 'mudslide' and you have no idea the impact that it has. ... (Montecito) is beyond recognizable."
DeGeneres also FaceTimed with her neighbor, Winfrey, who told DeGeneres that she wasn't aware of the mudslides until people inquired about her home.
"Everyone was saying to me, 'How's your property?' " she said. "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 and went outside walking and I realized everything wasn't indeed fine."
Winfrey said while walking around she saw some of her neighbors homes were "gutted," while others are "gone, just gone."
She said as her house is positioned on a knoll, she felt secure and that despite being informed she wouldn't have water or gas, she feels grateful.
"I am blessed and I am going to do whatever I can for the rest of the community," she said, "and we all just love the firefighters."
Other celebrities have taken to social media to speak out about the destruction.
Actor Jeff Bridges tweeted Thursday that his residence had taken a hit. "Our home has been severely damaged, but we are safe, and so thankful for that and for the first responders who are working tirelessly to save people," the Kingsman: The Golden Circle cast member wrote. "We are heartbroken over the loss of lives in our community. Your prayers and best wishes are most appreciated."
"Mourning the dead in our little town tonight," actor Rob Lowe tweeted Tuesday. "Praying for the survivors and preparing for whatever may come. #Montecito"
Model Bella Hadid referred to the community as her hometown in an Instagram post also shared Tuesday.
"I really can't believe it," she captioned the picture. "I am praying and thinking so much for our friends in the hospital and their families that are still missing."
Sharing the same photo as her sister, Gigi Hadid asked her Twitter followers to "Please keep the families of Santa Barbara in your thoughts and prayers."
Contributing: John Bacon and Megan Diskin