Cannabis is a major agricultural business in California but it may also face major risks from wildfires that often ravage the state.
A new study from the University of California, Berkeley found that cannabis plants are more exposed to wildfire than other crops.
That’s because cannabis is often grown outside of traditional agricultural zones and in areas that are more susceptible to wildfires.
The study integrated fire hazard severity zone data, wildfire perimeters, and future burn regime projections in relation to the location and cultivated area of cannabis farming.
“We found cannabis farming was located more often in high and very high FHSZs and closer to wildfire perimeters than any other agricultural type,” researchers wrote.
Researchers said they may be underestimating the issues due to potential indirect impacts of smoke to crops and farmworkers, which they did not evaluate.
So far in 2022, California has reported 6,289 incidents of wildfire that have burned over 330,000 acres.