Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Bridges among those impacted by mudslides

Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Bridges among those impacted by mudslides

During an episode of her daytime talk show, Ellen shared how the deadly wildfires had forced her and wife Portia de Rossi to evacuate their home in Montecito, a wealthy coastal enclave north-west of Los Angeles.

Evacuation orders were issued for areas below the Thomas, Whittier, Sherpa and Rey Fire Burn Areas beginning at noon on Monday, January 8, but only about 15 percent of residents are known to have evacuated.

The death toll early Thursday rose to 17 people, ranging in age from 3 to 89, and another 8 were still missing around the town of Montecito where hundreds of people are still surrounded by more than a foot of mud.

Thousands were without power, and there are reports of injuries and authorities have confirmed at least two fatalities in connection with the mudslides. "You've seen the news".

Anderson says the number dropped because people were located, but it could continue to fluctuate greatly.

"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", Bridges wrote on Twitter. "Because if we don't get those basins cleaned out, then we're not going to be prepared for the next storm".

"We have got to get those basins cleaned as fast as we can", Lewin said.

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Most residents of mudslide-ravaged Montecito were under orders to clear out Friday as the search for victims dragged on and crews labored to clean up the muck and fix power, water and gas lines. Residents in Montecito woke to crashing noises and knee-deep muck, posting videos on social media of thrashed homes and cars in a thick, soupy water. It's not just a wealth community.

Six people remain on the missing list.

Finally, many Montecito residents ignored the initial warnings. "You hear the word mudslides and you have no idea the impact that it has".

"All of my neighbors homes are like gutted", Winfrey said "The neighbors out back, their houses are gone".

"It just went around the house like a teardrop, it was shaped like an eye", O'Dea said.

Both are doing their parts to respond by raising awareness and pledging to do whatever it takes to help rebuild.

Winfrey also asked some passing firefighters to speak about their recovery efforts in the area as she and DeGeneres praised them for their efforts. The availability of the information on the website on the Highway 101 closure, the closure of the other local surface roads, and the maps keeping us informed reminded me why the local press is needed and why subscribers help pay to keep the Fourth Estate there for us. We're going to come together and we're going to do what great Americans do all the time.

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