The massive August Complex Fire — the largest wildfire outbreak in state history at 794,801 acres and still growing Tuesday — has advanced toward Northern California’s ‘Emerald Triangle’ of legal and illegal marijuana grows.
The fire, burning in rural Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity counties, was 30 percent contained with at least 26 structures destroyed. The area is mostly rural, heavily-wooded and has historically been the sources of millions of pounds of legal and illegal marijuana every growing season.
It is nearly double the size of the 2018 Mendocino Complex in Lake and Mendocino counties which previously was the state’s latest wildfire outbreak and has exceeded the combined 759,844 acres of the SCU Lightning Complex and LNU Lightning Complex blazes that are nearly contained in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Officials said the flames have already burned around the community of Kettenpom in southern Trinity County. It was threatening to push toward Alder Point in Humboldt County and has burned into the ridges outside Covelo in northern Mendocino County.
Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall said although the population of Covelo is officially about 1,500, he estimates there are more than 10,000 people living and working on surrounding cannabis farms. He worries that marijuana workers won’t evacuate in time if and when the fire comes.