California's Cannabis and Wine Country Threatened by Wildfires
NAPA, Calif. – More than 10 people have already been reported dead and more than 100 people are still missing after wildfires spread throughout Northern California’s Wine and Cannabis Country yesterday. The fires spread rapidly due to extreme windy conditions, taking less than 12 hours to destroy 1500 structures and kill several people.
The wildfires started late Sunday evening about 10 p.m. Cultivators growing in the area were given evacuation orders along with over 20,000 people. The state’s declared a state of emergency in both Sonoma County and Napa County as fires were burning in 14 different counties. Gov. Jerry Brown has requested emergency Federal Aid immediately from the President.
More casualties are expected as the damage is assessed and more reports come in. The danger is expected to continue into Wednesday as the powerful dry winds reaching 50 miles an hour still pose a threat. The monetary damage is also expected to be a catastrophe. Cultivators have already begun reporting damage, and millions of dollars’ worth of marijuana crops may have been ruined in the wildfires.
Police in Santa Rosa were still evacuating people as of 1:30 a.m. and more than 100,000 people were without electricity in Napa and Sonoma Counties. Pacific Gas & Electric was forced to turn off the gas for 30,000 people due to the wildfires.
For marijuana crops that were not burned by the wildfire, cultivators are concerned that they will be ruined by the wildfire’s ash and smoke because it can leave cannabis susceptible to fungus and mold. The fires are sure to have an effect on other states as well because California grows about 13 million pounds of weed annually, with large amounts of it going to states where marijuana is illegal. California grows more marijuana than any other state in the country.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles.