Firefighters Chase All Over Looking for a Reported Fire Near Panther Gap; Turns Out It Was an Uncovered Greenhouse

Glow from a greenhouse in Panther Gap lights up a cloud on the horizon.

The glow from a greenhouse in Panther Gap lights up a cloud on the horizon in April of this year. [Photo by J. Bradley Burns]

Just another Humboldt night…Beginning a little after 10 p.m., volunteer firefighters combed the hills between Wilder Ridge and Panther Gap searching over an hour for a wildfire which someone reported burning.

No worries though, it is not an actual fire but, according to scanner traffic, the glow came from an uncovered greenhouse… .

Question: How much money do you think is spent trying to locate wildfires that turn out to be uncovered greenhouses?



  • My guess is: not nearly as much as the cost of electricity to light that greenhouse.

    • You mean you have to pay the sun God’s for alternative energy? Most growers have been leading the way in moving towards alternative energy, and have done a lot of great things for the environment. What about the logging companies??

  • ! Well good thing the land owner doesn’t have to worry about getting busted…. for some reason petrolia, and honeydew have a free pass every year. The cops seem really scared of panther gap, rpg shooting down a helicopter works I guess.

  • Definitely a waste of time & resources!!!

    • For who? The firefighters were doing their job. We should be grateful. More of a waste for the property owner who hired idiots too lazy or stupid to cover that shit when the lights came on. C’mon guys, you make us all look bad.

      • Agreed! Thankful the fire fighter on so proactive.

      • Agreed, I didn’t mean the firefighters were a waste of time!!! I meant that chasing their asses to find some moron’s greenhouse uncovered was a waste of time etc!!! I have nothing but respect for firefighters period!!!

      • Vol fire fighter

        Some of us fire fighters are vollunteers. So that whole Job thing,, not happening. We spend our oun $ on gas& leave our Families to look for these. Third one I know of in hdew area. One was an active structure fire, engines went to two green lights before we found it on the ground. Please put a wrapper on it people.

  • Light pollution, from a “permitted” grow, is a reportable offense. And, some people are reporting them.

    • Glad to hear it.
      I drove up to a friend’s house one dark night, and when I crossed over the first ridge, it looked like space ships had landed! Glowing orbs on almost every “40.”
      It must have been back in the early days of light-dep, as my neighbor reported later that their area had gotten a grip on the wasted fuels/amps and also considered the wildlife. So they went to full Sun, with fewer plants, with greater (and better) yields.
      Thank goodness folks can learn.

  • If someone reported a fire,it must be looked for. Because if it was a fire and no one looked for it,would have been a nasty fire.THANK YOU TO ALL FIREFIGHTERS

  • I remember years ago as the lookout at Pratt Mtn. sending the crew from Thorn looking for an orange glow. They never could locate. (way before night time grows.) Turned out someone put in a large orange yard light. From 10 miles out at night it was flickering like a snag on fire. A neighbor called in early the nest morning about it. Got marked down on the map for future reference. Crews were up most of the night looking for it. Maybe you could let the fire depts know ahead of time where these are located for reference so they do not have to waste their time, or the bozo’s could have a scanner and listen to where the crews are going and maybe a lightbulb will go off in there heads and they can call off the crews who may have already been out on a fire and are now losing precious sleep time for the next fire real or not.

      • Not too many years ago…. whenever HSU had a night time football game there was a shaft of light shooting up into the sky, like there was “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” happening amongst the trees in the local forest. While this was nifty to look at, like the Luxor light shaft in Las Vegas, we all knew it was a waste of power, and was obviously putting out massive amounts of star-blocking light pollution.
        So they redesigned the lights. Better light reflectors, with better aim, reduced the light pollution drastically. Plus, because the light was being used better, it took a lot less power to light up the stadium. If I’m remembering the signage about it correctly, a savings of 15% just from the re-aiming and reflecting.
        Nowadays, I can’t tell if there is a night game or not, it was done so well.
        These folks need to pay attention to this idea: that less light is needed if it’s actually aimed at where you want it to go. A little bit better reflector could fix this problem. Using smaller lights, better aimed, could save costs, and even hassle from the neighbours. Here’s hoping…..

        • Not to mention, the lights are very indiscreet. It confuses me to see a privacy fence and uncovered greenhouses at the same time….What’s the reasoning behind that?

      • Vol fire fighter

        Should see if grasshopper can give us a panoramic.

  • Food for thought

    If there is already a glow pic taken in April why would they look for a fire in the same spot?

    • Lots of reasons: This glow pic wasn’t widely distributed. There are many glowing areas in Panther Gap. I don’t know how many but I can see 30 or 40 from my ridge into the Mattole area. Sometimes greenhouses catch on fire so what may have been a glow in previous weeks is now a fire.

  • Its not so much the question of how much money is spent chasing calls like this. It runs much deeper than that, but most people don’t understand. As a fire chief, the first concern that I have is the added risk to my firefighters as they respond (often times with the emergency lights and siren). Secondary to heart attacks, responding to emergencies takes many lives of firefighters due to traffic collisions. You would be amazed (or, scared!) at the crazy things other drivers do when they see the emergency lights flashing. We do our best through constant driver training and discussion, however, the uncontrolled variable is other drivers actions. Yet, there is another consideration that is often overlooked. In Humboldt County, 90% of the firefighting services is provided by volunteers. Women and men that devote thousands of hours annually to their communities training, maintaining equipment, fund raising and responding to calls … all for FREE. Each hour they donate to their community is an hour spent away from family. Dinners missed, birthday or anniversaries interrupted are very common in the volunteer world. Each and everyone of us stands ready, willing and able to put our lives on hold for our communities emergency needs. So, the question is … how long does it take to cover your grow to prevent needless false alarms? Isn’t it worth preventing the loss of a firefighter?

  • Its just not that big a deal…no harm, no foul…they searched for an hour and figured it out..chill..

  • There needs to be a BIG PUSH in the community, from many angles (radio, TV, community meetings, flyers, rewards systems, via independent schools, etc) to EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO COVER THEIR GREEN/HOOPHOUSES to prevent the many effects of inappropriate light pollution. Period.

  • And in the 80s keep your pollen to your self,now there all clowns…inside joke there…but my father flew with camp then and I never heard of any of them shot down.

  • And then there’s the issue of there truly being a fire and people hesitating to call because they believe that it probably is an uncovered green house. As we all know, a prompt response to a fire can mean the difference between homes and lives lost and the fire being extinguished.

    I was at a party two weeks ago when all of a sudden people were yelling “fire” and pointing out what looked like a large fire across the valley. Panic was in the air. But in fact it was multiple uncovered illuminated greenhouses. The fog was coming up and over the ridge and causing it to look just like a spreading wildfire.

    Simple solutions at hand for fixing this problem.

    We need to spread the word like wildfire, ” If you’re gonna light-it-up, cover-it up!”

  • OMG! Stupid, stupid, stupid waste of resources!

  • Ahhhh, the Gap. Special place – 5 years out there with the big boys will change ya.

    The [edit] Lower, the river, upper… the phone spot. The nightly sounding off of gunfire, somebody always had to let off a full auto mag to one up the next property. [edit] The Cadillac graveyard and all the abandoned shit out there. Black bears on the porch. Choppers and UFO’s. I even miss the road.

    • Vol fire fighter

      Come on back anytime. Or wait two years, the property will be worth less. Maybe ya can get a 40 for 100k. That’s only 300#s.


    • Pffft. Nice try, man.

    • Maybe, though after seeing maps of lights that show rural areas lit more than small towns, I doubt it. But, there aren’t any street lights in the hills. These lights are encroaching where there was only darkness at night.

      • Here’s a 2017 map showing lights brighter in the hills west of Miranda than the actual town. The only thing I can think of are greenhouses that would make those lights. In fact, they match up with known greenhouses.

  • They should have cut it down. People remember stuff like that and won’t do it again!

  • The country is Bulgaria. An inhabitant of Bulgaria is a Bulgar. More than one inhabitant of Bulgaria is Bulgars. I`m pretty sure “Bulgarian” is incorrect.

    Pakistan is a country. An inhabitant of Pakistan is a Pak, and so on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *