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  • Karel Ancona - Best Cali Hemp

Evacuation Scare

As of the writing of this week’s installment of Life on the Farm, the Best Cali Hemp team Milford are on alert for possible evacuation due to the Beckworth Complex Fire. It is referred to as a complex. when two or more fires join together. In this case there were two - the Dotta and the Sugar, both reportedly lightening caused. This is why, when we get these awesome lightening storms roll through, we keep busy praying for accompanying rain. At any rate, the fire as of this writing is about 10 miles down the road, and as the bird flies over the backside of the mountain closer than that. This is a fairly common event during California’s fire seasons. Last year we were evacuation ready for two months. When I was a kid, growing up at the U.S. Forest Service ranger station 2 miles up the grade, it was common practice every May for Mom to gather important papers, photos and other irreplaceable things in the car. And that’s where those things lived until October. So we got the heads up a couple afternoons ago that evacuation was possible. In those moments, that which matters becomes quite clear. I grabbed a few cloths for myself and the grandchildren, a few toys, the safe which houses important documents and four photo albums, one that was started by my great-grandmother upon their arrival in Nebraska from Europe in the 1800s. Oh….and the laptop, of course.


Katrina brought all the cats in, as they are hard to catch on a moment’s notice, set aside two boxes of business papers and the book containing our Reliable Blends formulations. Most of her life is currently in storage, so that makes the process a bit easier.Sandra asked what she should pack. Besides the important papers, clothing, meds etc., I just said to her, whatever it is you hold dear that is irreplaceable. Nothing else matters. I have seen too many times, people refuse to leave when they had the chance (unlike the Camp Fire, for instance, which moved so fast folks never saw it coming) and die trying to escape. There is no singular thing more important that people’s safety. Honestly, it pisses me off when folks try to play hero and stay. The fire started out Friday with 30 percent line containment and by nightfall had dropped to 9 percent, meaning somewhere the perimeter failed. It also tripled in size to nearly 39,000 acres in the day and by Saturday morning added an additional nearly 17,000 acres, and 300 more firefighters.


My background includes four years as a firefighter with CalFire back when it was California

Department of Forestry, followed by 35 years in journalism. The most difficult thing about these

situations for me and during fire season generally, is the lack of control being a hemp farmer affords. I now get to sit back and hope like hell someone gets a handle on the situation and lament my inability to be out on the fire line gathering news directly. Yes, I admit to being a bit Type A. What my background insures is that I understand acutely why the distance as the bird flies is critical. If Mother Nature decides to shift the winds, what is now a somewhat comfortable, or at least marginally safe distance away, can be upon us fairly quickly given the proper circumstances. In this moment, the winds are still. A blessing. But our moisture index, fuels and unusually high temps arenot in our favor.


Therefore, as John Denver once wrote, “(Our) bags are packed, (we’re) ready to go….

Hoping the next installment has a happy ending!

’Til next week, happy growing!

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