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Hill Fire evacuees take shelter, wait for updates on homes - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Hill Fire evacuees take shelter, wait for updates on homes

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Evacuation orders are being lifted, effective 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, for people living near the Hill Fire.

On Monday, approximately 250 people were told to evacuate. Some of them took shelter at the Red Cross station located at Santa Margarita Elementary School.

"When the fire started, I ran out of the front deck and saw a huge plume of black smoke, the blackest you can imagine," said Judy Bartlett, evacuee.

Residents in the evacuation zone were told to pack up and go Monday night, giving them just minutes to quickly gather what's most worth saving.

"I grabbed my cat. I didn't bother grabbing the important documents," Bartlett said.

Many of the evacuees at the shelter brought their pets with them, but some had to leave livestock behind.

With flames approaching Patty Leion's property, she says she had to free five horses on her property to give them a fighting chance.

"Because they can run, but in their corrals, they can't. I couldn't just leave them like that," she said.

Leion was able to save her two dogs and make it safely to the shelter where she spent a sleepless night.

"It's hard, but we really are trying hard," she said.

Evacuees say the hardest part is not knowing whether their animals and homes are okay.
 
"We are all just sort of waiting. People are milling around, comparing notes. We are just trying to figure out what's going on," said Bartlett.

Red Cross volunteers are working around the clock, providing help in any way they can.

"We do this because our hearts are there. It's not like they're just a number, these are human beings. We want to be there for them," said Cindy Osgood, shelter manager.

The Red Cross shelter is expected to close once the evacuees return home.

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