ASHLAND, Ore. – Fire officials say legal or not, finding marijuana grows when arriving on scene is becoming a common occurrence. With the harvest period around the corner, officials believe its a trend that will only increase.
Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program has more than 55,000 people enrolled and about one-fifth of them are concentrated in Southern Oregon.
Regardless of card status, fire officials say grows are commonly found at their house calls. Fire District 5 crews, who serve the Talent area, say its a trend that is only increasing. Their most recent spotting was near a fire that broke out on the 400th block of Crowson Road around mid-August.
Ashland Fire Rescue Chief John Karns said, while he hasn’t seen a significant increase in his three years of service in Ashland, the last few days have proven differently. Illegal or not, fire officials say they are responsible for protecting people and property.
Firefighters say while the grows themselves are not extremely flammable vegetation, they do call for a closer look at other dangers that are associated with a harvest. After ensuring the safety of residents and battling the flames the sighting reports by crews are then left in the hands of law enforcement.
Officials say a higher fence and a more secure area is what is usually seen around grow operations. While on scene, fire crews also have to make sure that these security measures wont impede fire fighting efforts.