Sacramento, California – The largest wildfire in California threatens an area of legal marijuana crops and authorities say residents are refusing to leave the area, despite forecasters forecasting a return of dry, hot and windy conditions that could feed the flames.
The August Complex fire was approaching the small communities of Post Mountain and Trinity Pines, about 200 miles (322 kilometers) northwest of Sacramento, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Law enforcement officers went door-to-door to warn of the danger of the flames but were unable to force residents to vacate the area, Trinity County Deputy Sheriff Nate Trujillo said.RELATED
“These are mostly farmers,” Trujillo said. “And many of them don’t want to leave because it is about their livelihood.”
Up to 1,000 people were still at Post Mountain and Trinity Pines, local officials and residents estimated Thursday.
Numerous studies in recent years have linked the largest wildfires in the United States to global warming caused by the excessive use of coal, oil and gas for fuels, especially as climate change has made California much drier. That means the flora is more flammable.
The threatened marijuana growing area is in the Emerald Triangle, a corner of three counties in Northern California that many consider to be the largest cannabis-producing region in the country.
People familiar with Trinity Pines say the community has up to 40 legal farms and more than 10 times that number in hidden, illegal areas.
Growers said they fear leaving plants vulnerable to flames or thieves. Each farm has crops valued at around half a million dollars and many are just days or weeks away from harvest.
Efforts to extinguish more than a score of wildfires in California have recently benefited from less strong winds and normal temperatures, in addition to humid Pacific air, but forecasters say that pattern is set to reverse over the weekend with a band of high pressures that will raise temperatures and generate strong winds that flow from the interior to the coast.
Wildfires in Northern California threaten to destroy thousands of residences. In the photo a fire consumes a house in the Berry Creek area of Butte County, California. (The Associated Press)
Wildfire flames illuminate Highway 162 in Oroville, California. (The Associated Press)
Wildfire flames behind Bidwell Bar Bridge in Oroville, California. (The Associated Press)
A view of Columbus Avenue in San Francisco covered by smoke from the fires. (The Associated Press)
A waiter serves a table at a business in San Francisco under a smoky sky. (The Associated Press)
The skyline last night behind the old Crissy Field airfield in San Francisco. (The Associated Press)
A driver unloads liquor in California’s Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood under smoke-darkened skies. (Eric Risberg)
Citizens stop at Fort Point to take photos of the smoke-covered Golden Gate Bridge. (The Associated Press)
Smoke from the California wildfires paints the sky over Oracle Park during the Seattle Mariners’ batting practice before their MLB game against the San Francisco Giants. (The Associated Press)
The horizon in the distance behind Oracle Park was partially visible in the smoke from the wildfires. (The Associated Press)
The Golden Gate Bridge under orange skies due to wildfires in San Francisco. (GFR Average)
Several people in kayaks paddle in McCovey Cove during wildfires. (Tony Avelar)