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As flames from the Woolsey fire roared across a hill early Nov. 9 and licked at her Bell Canyon home, television host Adrienne Janic calmly took out her cell phone and began filming.

She felt relatively safe, even as embers rained down and singed pepper trees dotting the 3-acre estate.

  • Adrienne Janic and her husband live streamed action from the frontlines of the Woolsey Fire as the blaze swept through their Bell Canyon neighborhood. Janics home survived the fire but much of her surrounding land is charred.(photo by Andy Holzman)

  • Adrienne Janic and her husband live streamed action from the frontlines of the Woolsey Fire as the blaze swept through their Bell Canyon neighborhood. Janics home survived the fire but much of her surrounding land is charred.(photo by Andy Holzman)

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  • Adrienne Janic and her husband live streamed action from the frontlines of the Woolsey Fire as the blaze swept through their Bell Canyon neighborhood. Janics home survived the fire but much of her surrounding land is charred.(photo by Andy Holzman)

  • Robert Goodman walks through what remains of his home on Stallion road in Bell Canyon. Goodmans home went up in flames Friday morning, as his home burned he drove through the neighborhood to warn fellow residents to get out. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Residents watch as the Woolsey Fire burns in the West Hills area of the San Fernando Valley Friday night. (Photo by Andy Holzman, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER)

  • Los Angeles Firefighter Cole Mason, of Station 73 in Reseda, hoses down Shane Clarks gutted home in Bell Canyon n on Saturday, November 10, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Daily News Columnist Dennis McCarthy is surrounded by retired Sisters of St. Louis on the grounds of Louisville High School where he and his wife evacuated to during the Woolsey Fire.(photo by Andy Holzman)

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After all, more than a dozen Los Angeles County firefighters were just outside the front door and her husband, Bud Brutsman, a documentary film producer, was racing to place 200 feet of garden hose strategically along an outside deck railing.

Janic could have heeded mandatory evacuation orders like most of her neighbors, who fled with little more than hope and a prayer that their homes would still be there when the hellish nightmare was over. But she didnt.

“People ask if I was scared or freaked out,” said Janic, who hosts the reality automotive television series “Overhaulin ” on the Velocity channel. “Honestly, I would do this all over again. I wouldnt change anything. I would stay.”

However, Marc Peebles, a public information officer working the Woolsey fire that has killed three people and destroyed more than 600 homes, said the decision to defy mandatory evacuation orders could prove deadly.

“Fire officials evacuate people for their safety and to provide operational space to roadways to defend structures,” said Peebles, a retired San Bernardino County Fire Department battalion chief who works with the Southern California Interagency Incident Management Team.

He added that residents cant typically be forced out of their homes by authorities. “We do it because we dont want people to die in wildfires.”

Cal Fire Division Chief Kathleen Schori said residents who refuse to evacuate can hinder firefighting efforts and put themselves in danger.

“It is too late (for residents) when firefighting operations become rescues,” she said.

Disaster conditions[hhmc]

In fast-moving, windblown blazes like the Woolsey fire and Camp fire in Northern California, which has claimed more than 70 lives and incinerated the town of Paradise, houses become fuel and flames quickly hopscotch from one dwelling to the next, according to Schori.

Toss in low humidity and dry vegetation and the danger intensifies.

At one point, the Camp fire was growing at a rate of about 80 football fields a minute, according to UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain.

Incredible #GOES16 satellite imagery of extremely dangerous, fast-moving wildfire in wildland-urban interface currently burning through #Paradise, California at an estimated 80 acres *per minute.* Strong, dry east winds. Really bad feeling about this one. #CampFire #CAwx #CAfire pic.twitter.com/l1667JOmDc

— Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) November 8, 2018

Fires moving at those speeds make rapid evacuations difficult and can easily catch people off guard. In some cases, those are people who did not have a lot of time to prepare for shifting conditions, but in others, it is those who decide to try to protect their property themselves.

“Those staying (in their homes) get trapped and cant get out,” Schori said.

As of Friday night, more than 1,000 people were listed as missing in Butte County, a little more than 50 miles north of Sacramento.

There are various reasons why people remain in their residences amid a raging wildfire.

Some worry about looters and others believe they are equipped to protect their homes, Schori said, adding none of those is a valid reason to stay.

“My recommendation always is that people evacuate,” she said.

Some complaints have been made about a lack of timely information from officials to help residents decide to stay or go, but that comes with an emergency situation.

Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Brian McGrath said authorities strive to issue evacuation orders as soon as possible but that can be challenging, particularly when a fast-moving fire roars into an area.

“We want to give early notification, but dont want to scare people too soon and want to give accurate information to give them time to systematically evacuate,” McGrath said.

All hell broke loose[hhmc]

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Janic believes that, had she and her husband left, many homes in her neighborhood might have gone up in flames.

“By saving our home we saved homes on the entire street,” she said. “If the winds had shifted, all it would have taken is for one ember to fly from our house over to the next house.”

Thats not to say Janic, Brutsman and their 8-year-old son never considered leaving.

The family thought about it on the evening of Nov. 8, when they first spotted smoke at the far edge of Bell Canyon and then watched as the glow of the fire got closer.

“My car was ready and packed to leave,” she said.

Janic said firefighters told her they were going to use her home, which sits on a hill at the end of a cul-de-sac and looks out over the canyon, to monitor the Woolsey fires progress.

The family decided to stay put because they felt they were well prepared with hoses and a pump to extract water from their pool. “I didnt feel we were in danger,” Janic said.

Eventually, flames from the Woolsey fire reached the hillside near Janics home, but firefighters quickly got a handle on the blaze.

Then, about 3 a.m. Nov. 9, the firefighters told Janic they were going to take a quick break inside their truck and her husband decided to catch some sleep.

About an hour later, she said, “all hell broke loose.”

“I was sitting on a lounge chair in my bedroom,” she recalled. “My eyes were getting heavy when I looked out the window and saw an orange glow. I yelled to my husband, Get up. Its here! “

Janic felt helpless, but did what she could to assist firefighters.

“I was giving them coffee and water because they fought like hell,” she said. “There was no time to freak out.”

Instinctively, Janic took out her cell phone, began filming the firefighters and then posted the videos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

UPDATE. Its 5:30am. Ive been up all night. We lost power at 4am. Just came back on. Here is video I just took from my upper deck. Everything around me is gone ? #WoolseyFire #VCFD #LAFD Thank you to the firefighters who saved my home ?? pic.twitter.com/OAiZ0EpY9o

— Adrienne Janic (@AdrienneJanic) November 9, 2018

“I wanted to let friends and family know I was OK,” she said

Janic was soon deluged with requests from evacuated Bell Canyon residents who asked her to check on the status of their homes.

“I became Bell Canyons field reporter,” said Janic, who has continued to post video updates on her Twitter page. “Honestly, thats what kept me going. I had a purpose.”

To: @realDonaldTrump this is my backyard. Its NOT a forest. Its a canyon. #WoolseyFire was arson. Please get your info correct. I was at home and STILL am & saw first hand the bravery these firefighters are fighting. They deserve 1000% respect! #LAFD #VCFD pic.twitter.com/Xz9AvpK2wi

— Adrienne Janic (@AdrienneJanic) November 11, 2018

After things calmed down, Janic and her son also became the neighborhoods unofficial zookeepers, looking after a menagerie of pets left behind, including goats, a pot belly pig, a bunny, two cats and a tarantula.

Although Janic wouldnt recommend that all homeowners stay put in the midst of a raging wildfire, she is pleased with how her family responded to the emergency.

“Im just so proud of us,” she said. “If we are able to get through a firestorm together we can get through anything.”

Afternoon UPDATE as of 4pm: New fires popping up. My street is ok so far. Not much left to burn ? But other parts of my community are still in danger. #WoolseyFire #LAFD #VCFD #VenturaCounty pic.twitter.com/58KGFVIkYS

— Adrienne Janic (@AdrienneJanic) November 10, 2018

Grateful in loss[hhmc]

The priority for firefighters is always to protect lives over property, the Ventura County Fire Departments McGrath said, and most people seem to understand that.

Robert Goodman, who also lives in Bell Canyon, wanted to stay in his home but decided to evacuate about 3 a.m. one morning when conditions from the fire became “sketchy.”

Goodmans wife was already at work, so he and his 22-year-old son, Brandon, left with their dog and went to a local community center.

About 10:45 a.m., Goodman returned home to retrieve his medication and found firefighters outside his home, which was in flames and could not be saved. Still, he is grateful for their efforts

“These guys (the firefighters) did a great job,” he said. “They just came up a little short.”

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