Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires;1 in 5 under some evacuation level

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Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires;1 in 5 under some evacuation level

Siskiyou_Kid
This post was updated on .

Wildfires on Wednesday encroached on the small rural community of Takilma in the Illinois Valley

Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires; 1 in 5 under some evacuation level  
By Noelle Crombie | The Oregonian/OregonLive
Southern Oregon wildfires this week have plowed through small towns, leveled hundreds of homes and businesses and now threatens part of the state’s prized – and lucrative – outdoor cannabis crop.

Statewide, an estimated 20 percent of state-licensed marijuana businesses – roughly 408 – face some level of evacuation, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission said Wednesday. That includes stores, marijuana processors and producers.

Of those, the agency said 73 marijuana producers, most of them outdoor farms, have been ordered to evacuate.

Many of those operations are in southern Oregon, a region synonymous with outdoor cannabis cultivation. In addition, state officials said a “significant” number of marijuana businesses in Clackamas County are also under threat from fast-moving wildfires.

Early Wednesday, wildfires encroached on Josephine County’s Takilma, prompting an evacuation order of the counter-culture enclave long associated with cannabis. The small remote community in the Illinois Valley is a “breadbasket” of cannabis production, said Nathan Howard, who with his brother, Aaron, operates East Fork Cultivars.


My father- in-law was a senior architectural consultant on the construction project when the Rogue Valley Manor was built in Medford. It is a high-end retirement center.

Josephine and Jackson counties are home to 62 percent of Oregon’s outdoor marijuana producers, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Howard said his brother was awakened by a neighbor early Wednesday who urged him to evacuate.

“It’s tough,” Nathan Howard said. “I am focusing on us, but I am also wanting to be mindful of people who have lost everything.”

Howard said his brother evacuated with his family.

“If the fires do engulf a large amount of the valley, if not all of it, based on what we have seen, it is going to be taking out a lot of multi-generational cannabis famers and infrastructure,” Howard said.


Rhea Miller, who operates Millerville Farm, a licensed hemp and cannabis farm in Takilma, said she and her husband Matthew stayed behind Wednesday to protect their land. She said they’re both independent wildland fighters.

“We have equipment out, we have water trucks, we are plowing fire lines and protecting our land,” she said.

The fires have transformed the typically lush region into “a war zone,” she said.

“It’s just been snowing ash, just like snow,” she said.


She can see fire burning in the distance. She said she and her husband are assessing moment to moment whether it’s safe to remain.

Miller said she’s worried about losing her hemp and recreational cannabis crops.

“I try to stay optimistic in all situations but it definitely feels a little unknown at the moment.”
-- Noelle Crombie; ncrombie@oregonian.com; 503-276-7184; @noellecrombie

Editor's note: While I don't grow cannabis and I have no current involvement in the industry, nearly every residential rental our family manages is inhabited by people who work in the cannabis business and every single location has been ordered to evacuate immediately, including several irrigated farms. The businesses who occupy our small strip mall are on notice to leave within 30 minutes of being notified, including the regions most prominent recreational cannabis retailer. I live in a remote canyon where my tree farm is not in immediate danger but still under the same order to prepare for evacuation. If a fire does make it here it will be very difficult to battle and will bring untold destruction to a dense forest.

My ex-wife and children fled the home I built on a farm that is several hundred yards from where dozers were cutting fireline through the night with a spooky red glow and the constant sound of sirens, despite the rural nature of the farm. This was the backdrop as I loaded my pickup with tools and hitched my trailer which was loaded up with my tractor and other hay equipment. I made it home about 2:00 AM this morning and I'm hoping the buildings are still there in the morning to load up more items. The house is being heavily soaked by sprinklers and there is a filtered ventilation system, but my ex-wife doesn't have a backup generator even though I wired it specifically to install a whole-house system.

Oh yeah, I went to school with many, many Millers from first grade on They are a local Irish Catholic family that is quite large. My daughter goes to the same high school 30 years after I graduated and there are still jokes about "As long as your daughter doesn't date a Miller...."
                                                                                   
https://www.oregonlive.com/nation/2020/09/oregons-marijuana-businesses-face-threat-from-devastating-wildfires-1-in-5-under-some-evacuation-level-statewide.html?utm_campaign=theoregonian_sf&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR1WRdlMgBMYG37NDPT1joSB5tyqPj0M7d6LAxEJy6XaUBIsxcNF3dFcTMU
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires;1 in 5 under some evacuation level

Ciro
I can see the smoke up here in BC.   15 years ago or so in the Okanagan BC there was a major forest fire close to a Kelowna.  Alot of outdoor and indoor growers had to abandon there grows and the volunteer fireman where stealing the abandon Crops
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Re: Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires;1 in 5 under some evacuation level

Siskiyou_Kid
This post was updated on .
There are hippy militias in Takilma trying to prevent looting, and i guess that might be what they mean. It's literally being protected by small town volunteer firefighters hosing down house to prevent embers from lighting them up. Now that it's been declared the #1 priority at the federal level, crews are pouring in from across the country and even from Mexico.

After this fire, the Slater Fire crossed 30 miles of rugged Siskiyou Mountains in 24 hours and grew from 30,000 acres to 130,000 acres in red flag winds with 50 mph gusts, the smoke seems to be creating it's own weather. We have bizarre stagnation with no wind at all, even though high winds and 100 degree temperatures were forecast yesterday. The fire only grew by 10,000 acres and the high temperature with the sun blocked out was 62 degrees.

We own five farms under mandatory evacuation located within 1.5 to 3 miles from the firelines, but the calm weather and low temperatures allowed crews to bulldoze 20 miles of firelines 50 yards wide over rugged terrain in 24 hours.

The amount of ash is incredible, with one ranch manager calling yesterday and saying it was killing all the fish in his pond. I mentioned that aerating it with a sprinkler might be beneficial and he said they were saving all of those for soaking the grassy areas all around the structures and really had to concentrate on priorities.

 
This is our little town mid-morning yesterday. This is a little commercial center with a cannabis dispensary, a True Value Hardware and other business that I manage in the late afternoon.

Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires;1 in 5 under some evacuation level

leChef
Wow, 20 miles, 50 yards wide in 24 hours, that is very impressive! I hope all your properties stay intact and that you are safe, Sisk! Please update if you can.
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Re: Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires;1 in 5 under some evacuation level

Siskiyou_Kid
Firefighters from Guanajuato flew in to help yesterday.

Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires;1 in 5 under some evacuation level

OCDETF116
That’s so sad to see. The air quality is off the chart bad as well. Over 500 in a lot of areas. Hopefully the area will survive. I hope the Vertical Horizons Treehouses make it as well.
Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime
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Re: Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires;1 in 5 under some evacuation level

Siskiyou_Kid
This post was updated on .


Vertical Horizons is right at the edge of the fire. This photo was taken last week before the fire. I manage three locations on the same road, and the entire area is under mandatory evacuation notice. They are literally going to have a very difficult time starting today, with the fire burning about 400 yards away on the ridge right above them and it raining huge glowing embers down. I have known the owners for a very long time and my sister was married there.

I went to high school with Phil Jr. who was shot and killed by the DEA a little less than two years go.
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires;1 in 5 under some evacuation level

Siskiyou_Kid
In reply to this post by leChef
leChef, according to a guy I know who toured the area I guess I exaggerated the width of the fireline. He says it's about 50' wide or the width of three D10 dozer blades. However, he said handcrews walked alongside the dozer with saw and other equipment removing brush and other flammable material from 50' out on both sides of the cut.


This photo was published by a local news site

Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: Oregon’s marijuana businesses face threat from devastating wildfires;1 in 5 under some evacuation level

Siskiyou_Kid
In reply to this post by Siskiyou_Kid
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.