Twelve hours after moving the last of his Christmas-tree-sized marijuana plants from his Marin County farm to Harborside’s Monterey County property in order to save them from smoke damage, Peter Pietrangeli had finally closed his eyes in a Scotts Valley hotel room when he got a text about flames approaching his other property in nearby Boulder Creek, in the Santa Cruz mountains.
The Bear Fire was only a quarter of a mile away from his farm, and Pietrangeli knew his 12 trimmers -— workers who manicure cannabis buds to optimize their quality — were on the property without cellphone reception. CHP officers blocked the roads to keep people away from the blaze, but he persuaded them to let him up to the farm. As smoke poured in, he got his crew out at about midnight.
“It was quite traumatic to deal with all that,” he says. “Half of them were sleeping; some