Rescue crews have been combing through tons of debris for survivors after 17 people were confirmed dead and another 17 people missing.
Rescuers have had to navigate through waist-deep mud, fallen trees, boulders and other debris. The mudslides have destroyed a 100 homes.
DeGeneres said on her talk showing airing Thursday that the picturesque town of 9,000 is a “tight-knit” community.
“It’s not just a wealthy community, it’s filled with a lot of different types of people from all backgrounds,” she said.
“And there are families missing, there are people who are missing family members…it’s catastrophic.”
Last month’s spate of wildfires, including the Thomas Fire – the largest in the state’s history – stripped hillsides of vegetation and left behind a slick film that prevented the ground from absorbing rainwater.
“First we got burned out at our ranch that caught on fire and now we’re flooding, so the last month has been pretty bad,” said Charles Stoops, as he stood in front of his house, which was surrounded in mud three feet deep.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told the county: “Right now, our assets are focused on determining if anyone is still alive in any of those structures that have been damaged.”
His office tweeted: “Another tough day in Santa Barbara County as Search and Rescue, Fire and Law Enforcement personnel from across our county and our neighboring counties searched for survivors and evacuated people.”