California Avocado Crop Largely Intact After Wildfires: CAC

IRVINE, Calif. -- Wildfires that swept through Southern California this week affected the state's largest avocado growing region, but the California avocado crop remains intact, according to the California Avocado Commission based here.

"Our primary concern has been the personal safety of our growers and their families," said CAC president Mark Affleck. "Some growers have suffered losses, and we will do everything possible to help them through this difficult time."

Although damage reports are still coming in and fires continue to burn in portions of San Diego County, accounts of avocado losses have been overstated.

"Early reports from other sources stated that 20,000 acres of avocados were lost in the fires in San Diego. This information was incorrect," said Guy Witney, CAC's director of industry affairs. "The actual area affected is expected to be only a fraction of that amount."

Before the fires, California was expected to produce about 365 million pounds of avocados during the 2007-2008 crop year. CAC is now re-evaluating the crop, which is likely to be 10 percent smaller than initial projections because of the fires and Santa Ana winds.

"We'll know more in the coming weeks," Witney said, adding that the commission will issue an updated crop estimate once all of the information is in.
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