SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California’s largest wildfire is threatening a marijuana growing enclave and authorities say many of the local residents have refused to evacuate.
Their resistance to abandon their maturing crops comes even as forecasters predict a new round of hot, dry and windy conditions that could fan flames this weekend.
The wildfire called the August Complex is nearing the communities of Post Mountain and Trinity Pines about 200 miles northwest of Sacramento.
The Los Angeles Times reports that police went door to door warning of the fire danger but could not force residents to evacuate. The Times says as many as 1,000 people remain in the two communities.
The threatened marijuana growing area is in the Emerald Triangle, a three-county corner of Northern California that by some estimates is the nation’s largest cannabis-producing region.
People familiar with Trinity Pines said the community has up to 40 legal farms, with more than 10 times that number in hidden, illegal growing areas.
Growers are wary of leaving the plants vulnerable to flames or thieves. Each farm has crops worth half a million dollars or more and many are within days or weeks of harvest.
One estimate put the value of the area’s legal marijuana crop at about $20 million.