Growing in a fire zone

I hope all you outdoor growers in Australia are doing well. Massive fires are raging across the country. Outdoor grows in smokey air will get less intense sunlight, and smoke and ash particles may be acidic and lower the pH on the surface of your plants. Watch your plants for dehydration in the heat, water as needed.


@Budlite good comment, i did notice the ph drop in nsw alot from 7.1 to under 6.0 , . hope the fire fighters get a break soon is pretty hectic. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

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So here’s some comments about the effects of fire smoke on crop growth. Sorry that it is a long text.
(From various sources)

"Unfortunately, wildfire season tends to come when outdoor cannabis is in its reproductive (flowering) cycle, which is the most vulnerable time for contamination. Resinous flowers exposed to smoke from wildfires may be coated with dangerous toxins and foreign material—soot, hair, insects, excreta, or other adulterants.

Farmers may not want to keep bud impacted by smoke because its growth and cannabinoid levels may be stunted. Studies comparing cannabinoid levels between smoke-stressed and control cannabis crops have yet to be published, but according to Lydia Abernethy, Director of Cultivation Science at Steep Hill, we do know that high levels of smoke can reduce UV rays, which promote important processes key to the growth of a plant, like photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and transpiration.

Smoke from municipal fires that burn buildings and other man-made structures can be more harmful than forest fires that burn trees and foliage, Wurzer added. “[When] cannabis [is] growing indoors in city limits or near other buildings and the fire comes into the city like it is in Redding or like it did last year in Santa Rosa, you have concern that when you have buildings on fire, the smoke … has a lot more potential to contaminate the cannabis with toxic chemicals.”

Pressure-treated wood, for example, contains chemicals like chromium and arsenic, which can settle on cannabis crops in the soot and ash from fires.

Fire retardant can also pose threats to cannabis crops and their water sources, said Lydia Abernethy, director of cultivation science for Steep Hill Labs, which has a California office in Berkeley. “If your product has been exposed to [a fire retardant], you should not consume it or release it into the cannabis market. If Phos-Chek or other fire retardants were dropped on or near your property, it’s important to monitor your waterways to make sure there’s no persistent problem with chemicals in your water.”

More comments:

"It may also be helpful for farmers to consider cultivars that are more resistant to wildfire. According to Abernethy, “Plants with denser bud structure or more foliage have more nooks and crannies for microorganism growth. Larfy or airy small popcorn buds may be less impacted by smoke/particulate contamination than large, dense colas. Plants that finish faster [e.g. indicas] may do better than varieties that take longer to flower.”

Some growers try to wash smoke/fire affected flower, but this doesn’t clean off the contaminants. Instead, Abernethy says, ”Extraction may be the best bet for farmers with reduced batch quality to remove impurities, but it might not work well in all cases as we still see about 25% of legal batches barred for entry due to pesticide contamination.”

“Smoke taint is the most obvious and the most apparent threat to cannabis as [it’s] exposed to these forest fires, and that’s something you’re going to be able to readily tell from just qualitatively examining the cannabis,” said Josh Wurzer, president of SC Labs, which has operations in both California and Oregon. “So, that’s certainly a concern—just ruining the flavor of the cannabis.”

Flavor of affected plants is generously described as “like smoked fish.” Less generously the scent and the aftertaste are reminiscent of a “dirty ashtray.”

I like the flavor of smoked fish, but not in my weed.