Wildfires that damage marijuana crops are focus of new federal group

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

(A version of this story first appeared at Hemp Industry Daily.)

In response to the 2020 wildfires that engulfed the western U.S. and damaged marijuana cultivators, two federal departments are banding together “to ensure better forest management effectiveness” in the fight against such natural disasters.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior will oversee the newly formed Interagency Wildland Fire Subcabinet.

The group is intended to open communication channels related to wildfire management, a move that could help cannabis and mainstream businesses as well as homeowners vulnerable to wildfires.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that while his agency has worked to “promote active management and reduce hazardous fuels” to save forests and grasslands, more can be done.

“With the establishment of a subcabinet dedicated exclusively to wildland fire management, we will be better equipped to prevent and fight wildfires, ensuring these national treasures will continue to be enjoyed by future generations of Americans,” Perdue said in a statement.

Wildfires that erupted along the West Coast in September reportedly burned down a number of cannabis farms in Oregon and threatened even more in California and Washington state.

In addition to improving communications when fighting wildland fires, the new subcabinet group is also tasked with:

  • Improving coordination among agencies on wildland fire management policy, implementation and oversight.
  • Managing initial task responses.
  • Promoting integrated planning and procurement among agencies when investing in wildland fire management infrastructure.
  • Training and retention of wildland firefighters.