U.S.: Packhouse destroyed in Washington fire

July 01 , 2015

A severe fire that hit a major cherry-growing region of Washington State over Sunday and Monday burnt a fruit packhouse to the ground, but the effects on orchards are understood to be minimal. cerezas_78453031 panorama 13

Around 24-28 homes were reportedly destroyed as the fire covering some 4,000 hectares swept through Wenatchee, according to Weather.com.

The area is in the midst of a heatwave, with temperatures last week reported to have been around record highs.

A representative of Wenatchee-based Domex Superfresh Growers told www.freshfruitportal.com a facility belonging to one of its packers called Bluebird was razed in the fire.

“That facility where our cherries as well as organic apples and pears were packed was completely lost,” marketing vice president Howard Nager said.

“At the time there was a small amount of packed cherries in the warehouse as well as packing materials in boxes, which all went up in flames.”

Nager said no one was hurt in the fire.

Domex has since altered its logistics, shifting the volume that would have normally gone through the Bluebird facility to another site.

“We have been able to move our production and packing to our facility at Monson Fruit in Selah, Washington, and then Monson Fruit will be packing all the cherries,” Nager said.

“We continue to harvest cherries in Wenatchee, none of that was impacted. So we’ve just transferred the logistics and we’ve been lucky in that we have not missed a beat and it’s business as usual as we continue on a pretty exciting season.”

Another large cherry grower in the area that was also affected by the blaze was Stemilt, but as with the case of Domex, operations are continuing as normal.

“Unfortunately, Stemilt’s Miller Street facility did sustain damage from the commercial fires that occurred,” communications manager Brianna Shales said in a statement.

“Damage is still being assessed. We are fully operational and continuing to ship cherries, stone fruits, apples and pears. I haven’t heard of any grower issues. Orchards withstand forest fires pretty well because they are watered so frequently.

“The fires have been devastating to the community and we are keeping everyone here in our thoughts and prayers.”

A representative of cherry-focused grower G&C Farms said while the fire had come right up to the orchards and ‘hurt’ some of the edges of the crops, there was no ‘significant’ damage.

In addition, Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers reported there had been ‘zero impact’ on the company’s production and operations.

“The fire did not interfere with our production or packing operations in any way,” export manager Steve Reinholt said.

However, he added that on Monday staff had been evacuated from the main office for several hours due to the presence of smoke, but he said this was a precautionary measure and the building was unaffected.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com


También podría interesarte

Leave a Reply

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