Although the momentum behind marijuana liberalization seems substantial, regulations still place severe limits on legal cultivation. For example, in the biggest cannabis county in the biggest cannabis state, Mendocino in California, some growers are restricted to 25 plants, depending on the type of licenses they hold. Similar restrictions apply in most jurisdictions.
In a market with wildly complex and even contradictory rules at the federal, state, and local levels, many growers pursue their interests without regard to legality. They commonly raise marijuana on public land, such as the huge Mendocino National Forest, where they can conceal their plants under a dense natural canopy.
But Mendocino National Forest and South Cow Mountain Recreation Area, two popular illegal growing areas, are burning. California typically suffers from a few wildfires during the outdoor marijuana crop’s growth stages in the summer, but this season ranks among the worst and has afflicted some cannabis areas much more than normal. The named fire locations became visible problem areas on Gro’s satellite evapotranspiration maps and analytics months ago. Since evapotranspiration statistics measure the total amount of water moving from soil to sky, areas with low evapotranspiration not only lack moisture, but frequently have bone-dry plant material ready to ignite. Unfortunately, other danger spots remain across the American West. Gro clients can’t necessarily forecast fires, but they can see early on which areas might catch fire in-season and which areas should stay safe.