Ellen Speaks out on the Mudslides of Montecito, FaceTimes Oprah from Devastation

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Ellen spoke about the devastation in Montecito California with her audience and Oprah.

Ellen DeGeneres addressed the devastation in Montecito, CA after rainfall caused flash flooding and deadly mudslides on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Thursday, January 11th.

The destruction comes a few weeks after the same community battled the largest wildfire in California history. Ellen then checked in with her neighbor, Oprah Winfrey via FaceTime as she updated Ellen on Montecito with the help of local firefighters. Oprah says, “We’re going to do what we do. We’re going to come together and we’re going to do what great Americans do all the time. We’re going to help each other. We’re going to help each other out wherever needed.”

Read Ellen’s message below.

This room is always so full of positivity and love and today I really need it. So many times over the past 15 years people have come up to me and say to me that when they’re going through a tough time this show helps them through it. Today, I need you because there’s a lot going on in my life right now.

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. We have had mandatory evacuations. It turns out it was the largest fire in the history of California and we got through that thanks to the incredible work of the firefighters from all over the country. At one point, there were 8,500 firefighters from all over the country helping.

So, we were just able to get back into our house on December 27th and I got back over the holidays and I just drove around. I love that community so much. There were just signs everywhere that said thank you and grateful just everywhere saying thank you to the firefighters and first responders. And it made me so proud to live there. I just love this place.

And so, we were expecting rain this week and usually, we’re grateful for rain, especially in California, but not after the largest fire in the history of California. Sunday night, Portia 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. 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. That is the 101. That is a highway and it is 30 miles long. That’s happening – 30 miles of mud.

Because of the fires, the trees had no roots to hold the hillside so, boulders were coming down, neighborhoods were just completely wiped out. Mud took everything with it. It took houses off their foundation. That’s the San Ysidro Ranch which is a charming little spot that everyone used to stay in and have dinner there. I mean, look at this. You don’t know the power of a mudslide. You know, you see the news, you see these devastating pictures, but as we speak – and this could change because it changes every minute – 15 people are confirmed dead. A lot of people are missing. People who are in their homes waiting to be rescued – they don’t know what’s happening because there’s no power, there’s no water. People are trying to locate missing people. It’s basically search and rescue right now.

Once again, the bravery and dedication of these firefighters are amazing. They’re just working tirelessly on our behalf. So, I’m forever grateful to all of you.

I love this community. If you’ve never been there, Montecito is a small town. It’s less than 10,000 people, it has 2 public schools, family-owned businesses. It’s a tight-knit community so everyone kind of knows everyone. I work in LA, but I consider Montecito my home. I live there, Oprah lives there. It’s not just a wealthy community, it’s filled with a lot of different types of people from all backgrounds. And there are families missing, there are people who are missing family members. They’re finding people and bodies and I mean, you hear the word mudslide and you have no idea the impact that it has, but after the largest fire in California history, it’s catastrophic. It is beyond recognizable.