California wildfires char wine country, hit dairy farms

Driven by "diablo" winds, massive wildfires burned hundreds of buildings, including three wineries, and tens of thousands of acres in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, reports the Wine Spectator. Dairy farms and produce growers with crops ripe for fall harvest also were in peril, "but moving farm animals is another story," said the San Francisco Chronicle.

Pollution from illegal pot farms far worse than estimated three years ago

The synthetic pesticides and fertilizers used illegally to grow marijuana in national forests produce far more pollution than previously thought, says Reuters. "Thousands of acres" of national forest in California are "waste dumps so toxic that simply touching plants has landed law enforcement officers in the hospital."

Bottled water sparks a lawsuit in Northern California

In Weed, CA, population 2,700, a David-and-Goliath story is playing out over bottled water. Residents are suing Roseburg Forest Products, an Oregon-based timber company for monopolizing the town’s drinking water, reports the New York Times. Roseburg owns the forest where a pristine spring surfaces, bringing water from Mount Shasta.