Oprah Winfrey joined hundreds of neighbours in Santa Barbara, California on Wednesday night (09Jan19) to honour the lives lost in the terrifying Montecito mudslide last year (18).
Heavy rains after a wildfire a year ago caused flash flooding and mudslides across the area, killing 23 people, including two children whose bodies have never been found.
On Wednesday, members of the community gathered for a candlelight vigil, walking through Montecito with arms linked in solidarity as they headed to the All Saints-by-the-Sea church for a special ceremony, during which the bell was tolled 23 times to commemorate each victim.
The TV titan, who was among the residents whose properties were damaged during the deadly downpour, took part in the procession and shared video footage of the tribute on Instagram.
“A year ago today our little community was digging out of the mudslides. Searching for survivors. 22 dead (sic). 2 were never found,” read the caption. “Tonight we paid our respects remembering them in a candlelight vigil.”
Actor Rob Lowe, whose family was also caught up in the tragedy last year, also took to social media to remember the deceased.
Alongside video footage of homes being destroyed in the incident, he wrote, “One year ago, 23 neighbors died and many more lost everything in the Montecito mudslides. #remember”.
Lowe and his wife Sheryl have since decided to move away from the area, placing their home on the market for $47 million (£36.9 million) in July (18).
Their place was built in 2009 and features a two-bedroom guest house, a one-bedroom pool house with staff quarters, outdoor kitchen, pool and spa, tennis court, and landscaped lawns, and boasts celebrity neighbours including Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.