California Assessing Wildfire Damage

Podcast / Newsline October 19, 2017

Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture / CC0 

California agriculture is assessing damages from wildfires in wine country. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: Farmers and ranchers in the wildfire-stricken part of California are just beginning to assess damages. California Farm Bureau spokesperson Dave Kranz says the state is learning more about the damage as those who were evacuated are returning to the area.

Kranz: It’s a very mixed picture and the picture is still being filled in. We know that there are wineries and vineyards that have burned, but a lot of them have been spared. And, it will take some time for everybody to get back and figure out exactly what has happened.

Clements: He says many of the grapes in the area were harvested before the fires. While wine and grapes are the dominant commodities, other types of agriculture operations were impacted as well.

Kranz: It’s a four-county area where the fires have been the most intense and grapes are the main crop, but there are also dairy farms, beef cattle, sheep and poultry operations, timber production, nurseries and a number of other crops. But, it’s very hard to know what the overall impact is.

Clements: Kranz says community needs will take top priority, finding housing for displaced residents, which includes farm workers.

Kranz: In coming days and weeks we’ll learn more about how the vineyards and other farms have come through the fires. But, certainly there’s plenty of damage, and in many ways, it’s that larger community dealing with thousands of homes that were lost and the many people who are displaced, including people who work on farms, dairies, wineries and other agricultural facilities. So, their needs will be a high priority.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.

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