Marijuana grows create challenges for firefighters battling Platina fire
PLATINA, Calif. - CAL FIRE firefighters battled a 60-acre fire off Highway 36 and Tedoc Road in Tehama County Sunday morning.
The fire started around 7:50 a.m. and was named the Bolla Fire. According to fire CAL FIRE, the fire was 50% contained by 11:40 a.m.
It took several hours for crews to stop the spread of the fire at 60 acres and they'll continue to put out hot spots through the night.
Firefighters dealt with a number of challenges to put out the flames. They said there are several marijuana grows on the land and it was about 100 degrees.
"[The heat] is definitely putting a hinder on the crews, but they're well equipped to handle the rigors of the job," CAL FIRE Fire Captain Scott Lohse said.
He also added that whether or not those marijuana grows are the exact cause of this fire is still under investigation, but that those grows made the firefight much more difficult.
"Those play a factor in our safety. Coming to the scene access, we don't know what's on the property, who's on the property, if there's weapons, what other chemicals they're using," Fire Captain Lohse explained.
A neighbor told KRCR News Channel 7 off camera that a vegetation fire breaks out in these hills every other year and he is sure it was caused by the illegal grows.
Early winds and the steep terrain didn't help firefighters either. Crews had to hike about a mile into where most of the flames were burning.
"It's not off a roadway that we can easily access, you know, we had to go off dirt roads and it's not off the highway or anything so it's difficult and steep terrain," said Fire Captain Lohse.
At this point, the fire is under control and Fire Captain Lohse attributed that to the prompt air attack overhead. "We're lucky that air attack and air tankers really held it at 60 acres upon their first arrival."
CAL FIRE said it wasn't able to make any contact with growers and there were no structures that were threatened.