Days after celebrities began stoking interest in an Oprah Winfrey 2020 presidential campaign at the Golden Globe Awards, the former television host shared pictures and video of devastation to her Montecito residence following mudslides that left at least 15 dead throughout California.
“Oh my god. So, there used to be a fence right here,” Winfrey says in a video posted to her Instagram feed on Wednesday, as she stands in deep mud amid fallen branches and broken pieces of wood. “There’s my neighbor’s house, devastated. Debris everywhere.”
Winfrey assured followers in her caption that her property overall is “fine,” and that the mud and minor damage “pales in comparison to what my neighbors are going thru.” Winfrey has owned a 42-acre property in Montecito since 2001, which she has nicknamed the “Promised Land.” In 2016 she purchased a 23-acre estate bordering the property, called Seamair Farm.
Rainfall began in Santa Barbara County over the weekend, prompting mudslides that damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and injured at least 25, according to the Associated Press. Montecito, a wealthy enclave that is home to celebrities including Rob Lowe, Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Bridges, was hit hardest.
Mudslides were exacerbated in the area due to hillsides scorched by the Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire in California history, which burned through 440 square miles and destroyed 1,063 structures in December.
In another video posted to her Instagram feed on Tuesday, Winfrey showed a gas fire whose flames were visible outside her property. According to NBC News, mudslide debris ruptured a gas line in one Montecito neighborhood that caused structure fires. Winfrey also shared videos showing the depth of the mud around her home, the destruction of a house at the back of her property and a helicopter rescuing Montecito residents.