It’s wildfire season in the U.S. and cannabis companies up and down the West Coast are feeling the impact. From burned farms and property to potentially contaminated crops from prolonged exposure to smoke, heat, and fire retardant, cannabis businesses in California and Oregon are bracing for yet another difficult fall.
The wildfires, which have reportedly claimed at least 35 lives and burned millions of acres so far, have also sparked camaraderie among cannabis businesses who might otherwise be considered competitors.
In Oregon, about 20 percent of the state’s licensed cannabis businesses received evacuation orders as the fires were fueled by an unlikely and dramatic wind storm last week. The fires darkened the sky with smoke, which bathed everything in a persistent, orange-red glow.
Candice Paschal, owner/operator of Paschal Farms in Molalla, Oregon, said their farm was placed under a mandatory evacuation order last Tuesday as three surrounding wildfires — the Riverside fire, the Santiam fire, and the Wilhoit fire — closed in on the region. As firefighters became spread too thin, however, Paschal said that a group of about 40 Molalla locals stayed through the evacuation order to fight the approaching Wilhoit fire. The town, including neighboring cannabis farms, “poured equipment, food, and supplies” into the firefighting camp, she said.