August Complex Wildfire Threatening Cannabis Growing Enclave
SAN FRANCISCO – The largest wildfire in Cali is getting closer to a cannabis growing enclave, and many locals will not evacuate despite weather forecasters predicting optimal windy and dry conditions that could spread the flames.
Los Angeles Times reported that August Complex, the wildfire, is getting closer to the small communities of Trinity Pines and Post Mountain, approximately 200 miles northwest of Sacramento.
So far, law enforcement officers have gone door to door to warn these communities of the potential danger. However, they could not forcibly evacuate the residents.
Trinity County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Nate Trujilo explained, “It’s mainly growers. And a lot of them, they don’t want to leave because that is their livelihood.”
Even with these encroaching fires coming towards the Trinity Pines and Post Mountain communities, as many as 1,000 people remain in the area.
The area these wildfires are annihilating is also known as the Emerald Triangle. Some estimates highlight this is the largest cannabis-producing region in the U.S.
Trinity Pines itself has as many as 40 legal grows. But more than 400 illegal grows could be operating there at any time.
The issue here is growers are concerned with leaving their crops to be burned by the flames or stolen by thieves. With farms possessing crops worth half a million dollars or more with some being days or weeks from being ready to harvest, it’s understandable why these farmers are hesitant.
One estimate values this area’s legal cannabis crops at around $20 million.
Trujillo explained, “There (are) millions of dollars, millions and millions of dollars of marijuana out there. Some of those plants are 16 feet (5 meters) tall, and they are all in the budding stages of growth right now.”
This region is familiar with firepower, said Post Mountain volunteer Fire Chief Astrid Dobo. One night recently, the locals performed what they called “roll call” as cannabis cultivators, shooting rounds from their firearms into the air to warn outsiders they refuse to have their yields stolen.
As the wildfires rage on, we can only hope these communities don’t lose their crops to the flames – and no one gets hurt.