U.S.: California avocado orchards impacted by wildfires
Avocado groves in California have been affected by the wildfires that have been raging through the southern part of the state in recent days, according to an industry representative.
Mandatory evacuation orders remained in several areas, after strong winds helped to spread the flames. The Thomas Fire in Ventura County remains the largest of the current blazes.
"[The situation] is not good and we don't really know the full extent of it. Each day seems to bring more bad news," California Avocado Commission president Tom Bellamore told Fresh Fruit Portal.
"We’re certainly monitoring it closely and a day or so ago we sent out a message to all of our growers expressing our condolences to those who have suffered property losses and damage to their groves, and there’s been a fair bit of that from what we know at present."
He estimated hundreds of acres of groves may be impacted.
"We’re hoping on Monday to get and actually do a first-hand look at some of the orchards, but that’s only if the fires have subsided, and it’s hard to tell at this point whether Monday is realistic," he said.
California Citrus Mutual president Joel Nelsen said there has also been interruption to the citrus industry.
"Our guys are battling fires that are very close to property. In some cases barns, equipment, farmworker housing and grower homes have been destroyed," he said.
"It appears that citrus trees, for the most part, are escaping major damage. The fire caused loss of power which affected packing houses and their ability to process the fruit already picked, but that was a temporary interruption.
"Because of the pressures in the area phone calls have been limited."