The raging Northern California wildfires have not only burned wine country but have also destroyed numerous marijuana farms. [CNN Money]
Areas in which pot farms have gone up in smoke include Sonoma and Mendocino counties, the latter of which is part of the Emerald Triangle. Trinity and Humboldt, the other two counties in the Emerald Triangle, have largely been spared from the fires.
Nikki Lastreto, the secretary of the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association, said she knows several people who have already lost their farms. There were cannabis farms burning in Mendocino County over the past couple days, and many plants have also been lost in Sonoma County, Lastreto said.
The fires will be very costly for farmers since no one has insurance on their marijuana crops, Lastreto said. Pot farmer typically invest upward of $5 million in the their facilities and as much as $3 million on cultivating the crop.
However, the wildfires are unlikely to have a significant impact on California’s overall supply of marijuana when retail sales begin in the state next year. An oversupply of pot is expected this year.
Stan Florea, a fire information officer for the U.S. Forest Service, said it is very typical that fires in Northern California could result in marijuana farms burning. Florea noted, though, pot farms are illegal on federal land.
Thus far, a total of at least 15 wildfires have killed 31 people. Hundreds more people are missing.
The fires have burned more than 200,000 acres as well as thousands of homes and businesses. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in counties including Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino.