Hello fellow Rachio users. I figured you all would appreciate this so I’m sharing our story…
First off, I used to be very impressed with my Rachio system after purchasing and installing it earlier this year. But after the events of early December and the Los Angeles wildfires, I’m not only very impressed, I’m also EXTREMELY thankful.
My wife and I dealt with a nightmare scenario on December 5th. I had flown out of town the previous morning to meet family and a friend in Northern California for a three-day mini-vacation / get together. My wife was not able to travel with me due to to work scheduling.
On the morning of December 5th, I woke up to go golfing in northern California while my wife woke up and headed to work in Santa Clarita (a 30 minute drive from our home in LA). When she arrived at work around 8am, a wildfire had already begun near Santa Clarita and was dubbed the “Rye Fire.”
Around 11am I started receiving texts from friends asking if I was effected by the fire. I had no idea what they were talking about so I checked on my phone and saw that another fire had begun near our house in LA. This fire would be called the “Creek Fire.” I hadn’t heard anything from my wife so I imagined everything was fine. After all, there have been many fires this year (including the largest ever in LA city history a few months prior… and that had only destroyed four houses. The LAFD had us feeling invincible).
In the early afternoon, I was putting on the course’s 6th green when I received a call from my neighbor. In a rush he said, “I know you’re out of town. Not sure if you know about the fire but we’re being evacuated! Do you want me to get into your house and grab Oscar?” Oscar is our Labradoodle.
I immediately started calling my wife (Megan). No answer on her cell phone. No answer at her office. I repeated to no avail. Panic started to set in but then my phone rang.
It was my wife and she had just arrived home after her boss sent all the employees home due to the dangerous Rye Fire in Santa Clarita. She had no idea a second, major fire had flared up near our house. When Megan arrived home in LA, she was greeted by our fleeing neighbors. I was happy to hear she arrived home and she filled me in on what she was seeing and we formulated a very quick plan over the phone.
She grabbed the dog, a few belongings and rushed out of the neighborhood to a friend’s house about 15 minutes away.
Feeling helpless far away playing a completely meaningless round of golf was weighing on my nerves. What should I do? What COULD I do? Even if I could get back to LA there’s really no influence I’d have on the fire.
Until my wife sent me a text and said, “Oscar and I are safe (at our friend’s house) but you should run the irrigation system.”
Hey, I could actually do something! I pulled out my phone and began manually irrigating all areas of our yard with the Rachio app. I did this through the rest of the afternoon. I was paying special attention to our backyard since it would be closest to the fire but the wind was gusting and embers could be landing in the front yard as well. Rachio had me covered. I was also using my Ring video cameras (doorbell view of front yard and floodlight view of backyard) to focus my amateur “fire fighting” approach.
When all was said and done, the fire had burned all the way to our backyard and as far as the eye could see outside of our neighborhood. Fortunately, a road helped separate us from the massive flames but the strong winds were blowing “flaming tumbleweeds” and embers all over our neighborhood, according to my neighbor Glen.
Glen sent his wife and daughter to safety but stayed behind as a last-ditch effort to protect his house. A couple of his friends arrived and they used garden hoses to put out mini-fires that flared up throughout the neighborhood.
Later that night he told me about the insanity of that afternoon. As they ran around from house to house putting out flames, he said he didn’t have to worry about my property since our sprinklers kept everything safe. Because of Rachio, he was able to check our house off his list and focus on others that had dry yards.
The real heroes are the thousands of fire fighters who kept so many people and their properties safe. But when it comes to helplessness and maintaining some peace of mind, our Rachio system was HUGE for my wife and me. We had absolutely zero damage. Some of my neighbors could not say the same.
It’s certainly not a guarantee that Rachio saved my house. But I tell you what, I can guarantee that my house is still standing after the most stressful day of my life. That peace of mind is priceless. I love my Rachio system.
Thank you to everyone at Rachio,