BY ANNE CRUZ
Photo by Ben Kuo/Unsplash
This year’s fire season has seen historic, catastrophic devastation along the West Coast. Across California, Oregon and Washington, blazes have scorched more than five million acres this year to date and unfortunately, there are still weeks to go before the danger dissipates. Cannabis farmers in California have been hit particularly hard, with farmers being forced to flee their crops as fires spread.
Along with the physical destruction caused by wildfires, firefighters and their communities have been particularly hit hard by the constant onslaught of fires. Resources are stretched thin, an especially stressful situation given that there’s a current worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
“With the large fire up in the Mendocino National Forest, we committed resources there which stretches us pretty thin for basic everyday calls within the unit. A lot of our members have been gone for weeks at a time,” says Michael Sacheli, a fire captain in Mendocino and board member of the Cal Fire Benevolent Foundation. “This has been one of the most stressful years with the combination of large incidences and COVID-19. It’s been tough trying to adapt our lives to the new rules and regulations along with the new challenges we face.”
To do our part to help those affected by wildfires, MedMen is donating a portion of proceeds from every [statemade] purchase to the Cal Fire Benevolent Foundation, which offers financial support to firefighters and their families. It also supports burn victims and burn centers. Sacheli says that by offering immediate financial support for firefighting families, the Benevolent Foundation can give them one less thing to worry about during a crisis like losing their home to the very fires they’re fighting.
“If you can provide immediate assistance in the form of a few thousand bucks to help with temporary shelter in a hotel, or to buy some necessities, it's not going to replace their [home],” he explains, “but it's immediate assistance that will help them get through the next few days.”
Proceeds from [statemade] purchases labeled with CA Wildfire relief will also go towards providing firefighters and their families financial assistance for medical needs, funeral costs, and more. While this year’s wildfires show no sign of stopping, Sacheli says it means a lot to see entire communities coming together to support one another during difficult times.
“I've noticed that at every large fire, they're always trying to help us, and we're like, Hey, we're here to help you guys,” Sacheli says. “But even having the signs up saying thank you, it's awesome to see that. And I think we all realize everyone's in it together, we're all here to support each other.”