California growers brace for fire season

Nearly 10,000 fire incidents wreaked havoc on Californians during the 2020 fire season. Cannabis growers across almost the entire West Coast were at risk from either smoke or ash—and the devastation that ensued left a permanent scar on the industry, in some cases.

Robert Steffano runs Humboldt County, California-based Villa Paradiso Farms, producers of bulk flower that is sold to distributors. Steffano ramped up maintenance checks on 30 fire extinguishers, adding fire fighting devices at multiple locations on his farm properties.

“The key to survival out here is immediate suppression,” said Steffano, who also once served as a volunteer fireman. If there’s smoke, you’re on it.” Steffano’s background at the Palo Verde Volunteer Fire Department provides him with an edge against the dangers of firefighting.

No more games: Steffano even purchased “The Wookie,” a military 6×6 cargo truck—retrofitted with a 1,000-gallon water tank, 100-foot fire hose and industry-grade pump. It almost seems like he is preparing for war. 

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