Devastating Woolsey Fire Impacts SoCal’s Cannabis Community
The power went out early in the morning on Friday, Nov.9. All communication to the outside world was crippled. Yvonne DeLaRosa Green and her husband Sam Boyer were still in their Malibu home. At this point, the Woolsey fire already singed multiple neighboring canyons. According to DeLaRosa Green (who was one of High Times’ top 100 most influential women in cannabis in 2018) the flames were still far enough away to stay in their home–or so she thought.
“We had no television, internet, or telephone,” says DeLaRosa Green. “So we had no idea that the fires had crossed from Oak Park into Malibu.”
Having the intuitive sense to look for an old landline, Boyer located a phone and plugged it into the wall. It instantly rang. Vanessa Rodriguez, the general manager of the 99 High Tide—a Malibu dispensary founded by Delarosa Green—was on the line.
“She was like ‘I can’t believe you guys are still there. You have to get out’,” says DeLaRosa Green, who was named Industry Power Women‘s Business Woman of the Year in 2017. “I didn’t really understand. I was like ‘What do you mean? Isn’t [the fire] still far away?” And then she told us that our friend Jesse, who’s one canyon over, had driven through a wall of fire going down [the mountain] to get out and that his home has burned.”
Plumes of grey and black smoke clouded the sky—the inside of their home was getting smokey. Boyer and DeLaRosa Green realized they were in severe danger. They quickly packed up their dogs, cat, sleeping daughter, and grabbed two boxes from the garage, and attempted to evade the flames coming toward their Yerba Buena Road home.
But they were halted by the electric gate at the foot of their driveway. The family had no way to flee the property because the power was out and the gate wouldn’t open. As clouds of smoke engulfed their home, a neighbor raced up to the gate in his car with a pair of bolt cutters and broke it open. Boyer, DeLaRosa Green, and their family escaped. But the fire showed no mercy for their home.
“It was a miracle our neighbors were able to help us,” said DeLaRosa Green. “We are so grateful to have gotten out of there. So many people in these situations get consumed by the smoke and then die from smoke inhalation before the flames even get to them. That’s the stage we were at in the house. It was one of those moments you never think you’re going to be in.”
Although emotional from losing her home—the second one she’s lost to wildfires living in Malibu—DeLaRosa only broke down during our conversation when discussing the animals victimized by the fires.
“The worst thing about this fire are the animals that have died,” DeLaRosa Green says, her voice quivering. “One of my neighbors wasn’t able to get their horses out in time and they all burned to death. Thinking about it just breaks my heart…it just wasn’t possible for many people.”
The Los Angeles Times posted heart-wrenching photos illustrating the devastation caused by the fires, including an image of two llamas tied to a lifeguard tower, and a donkey tied to a power line pole. The sky in the image is apocalyptic-red—as if the photo was taken on Mercury. Those llamas were one of DeLaRosa and Boyer’s neighbor’s farm animals.
As of Monday, Nov. 19, the blaze is 91 percent contained. But Delarosa Green and Boyer were one of hundreds who lost their home to the Woolsey fire–and one of thousands across California who lost everything this fall. The Great Spirit Ranch, popular wedding venue and once-home to the Emerald Exchange sun-grown cannabis festival, also burned. It was home to numerous rescue animals. Miraculously, all of the animals from the ranch are alive—including a 34-year-old horse, according to the Great Spirit Ranch Go Fund Me update.
Malibu is open again for residents to return to their once luxurious city. But many are left with nothing. Despite losing everything, DeLaRosa and the 99 High Tide team are hosting Reiki sessions. They’re also donating product to those impacted by the fires.
“We are offering complimentary healing sessions and bodywork,” says DeLaRosa Green. “We’re going to be using our Beemer machine, which is an electromagnetic healing technology. We’re offering reiki—and everything is complimentary of course. We’re also reaching out to our vendors to donate products, especially flower and oils and Rick Simpson oil for our patients who need it now more than ever.”
One Love Malibu, an Instagram account created in conjunction with a GoFund Me, is also accepting donations to help the greater Malibu community navigate the aftermath of the fire. Tonight at 8 p.m., One Love Malibu is hosting a fundraiser at Shore Bar to help raise money to aid those who’ve literally lost everything. There will also be a community Thanksgiving meal at Pepperdine University on Wednesday, Nov. 22.
Losing a home is painful. But DeLaRosa Green and Boyer tell us they’re just grateful to be alive—and that their daughter slept through the chaos of their speedy evacuation.
“Things are replaceable,” says DeLaRosa Green. “The most important thing is that we’re all alive. And even though people need support right now for shelter, clothing, food and the necessities, in the end, we’ll all rise again like the Phoenix.”
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