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Fish Fire evacuee describes leaving home behind

A photo of the Fish Fire on Monday, June 20, 2016.
A photo of the Fish Fire on Monday, June 20, 2016.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

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The Fish Fire and the Reservoir Fire burning in the San Gabriel Mountains are now being called the San Gabriel Complex. The two fires expected to merge into one big blaze at some point on Tuesday. As of 9 a.m., 5,400 acres have been burned, and there is still zero containment.

Liz Reilly lives in Fish Canyon and is a Duarte City Councilwoman. She left her house with her daughter and two dogs Monday afternoon. She went to an evacuation center in Duarte, while her daughter and the dogs headed to a pet-friendly hotel.

"The fires were so close that you could almost reach out and touch them," she said. "The reason I actually left was because the smoke was really getting to my eyes and I was having trouble breathing. So I thought it was really time to go."

Reilly loaded a box of her most important documents and some pictures into her car. She says she doesn't feel she left anything significant behind, because her family is most important. But the decision process was not simple.

"It's very difficult trying to decide, what do you value and what do you take? And I really decided that when we go back, I'm going to have to rethink that, and maybe have a list of things together as to what really is important and what things should I be taking," she said.

Until then, she and the other estimated 50 people at the evacuation center play games like Scrabble, and wait.

"That really is stressful, not knowing when you're going to be able to go back home," she said. "I know they're fighting it... they thought maybe at noon, but I don't know that at noon it's going to happen. So we're just kind of waiting to see when they tell us we can go back."   

To listen to the full interview, click on the blue audio player above.