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Farmers pick up the pieces after Maria Fire rips through farmland

Maria Fire_ flames

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - It's been about a week since the Maria Fire broke out and burned through the area between Santa Paula and Somis, and now folks are trying to clean up the damage.

Robert Grether is vice president of Grether Farming Company. He says his company was hit hard by the fire.

"There is not much we can do. When you look up the hill and it is that many miles wide, it is just in the hands of the professionals."

On Monday, Grether said the orchard had been without power since Wednesday. That prevents farmers from watering their crop to protect it from the flames.

"What is particularly frustrating in this circumstance was that the fire started and there was power at my brother's house off of Bradley Road and there was power at our office on Walnut Avenue, but in this three-mile chunk there was no power and that is where the fire ended up doing the most damage, because we couldn't turn on any of our wells, couldn't pump any water, couldn't run any of our irrigation systems."

Grether watched as the flames torched a portion of his family-owned businesses that has been operating since 1979.
 Hundreds of avocados were burned and irrigation lines melted.

"Right now our estimates is about 25 acres. It's hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's going to cost us money to redevelop the orchard and then we will have the lost income for three to four years with no income and then three to four years of lower productions."

Article Topic Follows: Agriculture

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Senerey de los Santos


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