On a dire Labor Day in the Okanogan Valley of Washington state, Terry Taylor and four family members fought the Cold Springs Fire away from Okanogan Gold. Taylor, the cannabis farm’s CEO, and the group diverted the fire away from his fenced-in crops Sept. 7.
Taylor dug fire line—a path meant to slow or stop a fire—around his 38 acres of property. When the fire reached the fence and caught a section of it on fire, his daughter’s boyfriend kicked a section of the fence down.
As a previous firefighter and engine boss, Taylor knows about fires. He spent about three years working as a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, then after taking a different career path, worked as an engine boss, a supervisory role on a fire engine.
“Usually, the same thing would have been done with like two hand crews and six engines—and a hand crew’s like a 30-man crew,” Taylor said. “So, the amazing thing is that we did it with like four people.”
To reach the property, he said the fire hopped over two lanes of U.S. 97 and the Okanogan River, the latter of which is roughly 1,500 to 2,000 feet where it comes up against his property.
Screenshot from a video on Terry Taylor’s Facebook page
At Okanogan Gold, Terry Taylor dug fire lines next to his farm’s fence and farther from its perimeter.
Before the fire jumped the river, Taylor received a warning. “The sheriffs that came in and told us, ‘This is your last chance. If you don’t go, we’re not sending any resources. You’re on your own,’” he said. “So, that’s when we knew that we were committed.
“They did watch from a distance. We could