For three days, Bob Booher and his friends protected his house from the Creek Fire.

SYLMAR (CBSLA) — Evacuation orders for residents temporarily displaced by the Creek Fire in Sylmar were lifted Thursday night, and as many families returned to the charred remains of their homes, one man who refused to leave continued tending to his house, which stayed standing.

Lakeview Terrace resident Bob Booher told CBS2 News he ignored the mandatory evacuation order issued Tuesday. Instead, he and three friends doused his house and property with water from a 100,000 gallon cache he stocked.

They successfully kept the flames at bay, saving Booher’s home, though his workshop didn’t fare as well. He also credits the constant clearing of leaves and brush around his house that provided a buffer from the fire.

“Canyon life isn’t real easy, and you have to think ahead,” Booher told CBS2.

The houses next to and in front of his burned down, two of more than 30 homes the Creek Fire destroyed this week.

By Thursday night, the blaze had burned 15,323 acres and was 20 percent contained.

The flames were close enough to Booher’s home that palm tress in his backyard ignited, and he put out embers that landed on his house several times.

“It’s hard to explain. If you haven’t been in it, you can’t really sit here and talk to somebody that hasn’t witnessed it,” he said. “You wouldn’t want it on your worse enemy.”

Asked if he would stay again, Booher said, “I don’t know. I can’t answer that.”

As he made sure his Christmas lights were up still up following the harrowing experience, one thing he was sure of, he said, was that he “wasn’t gonna let it bring the Christmas spirit down.”

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