Farmers protect their crops as ash came down from the Alamo Fire

Farmers protect their crops from the...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Farmers say they found ways to protect their crop as the ash from the Alamo Fire came down. 

The Alamo Fire came close enough for farmworkers at Darenberries to see the flames making their way up and down the hillsides. 

"We started to see the flames on the other side of the hill and then we saw them closer to us,” says Jose Castillo, the ranch's supervisor. 

Castillo says when it started to get hotter the strawberries were becoming dehydrated. 

"We put enough water to make sure the plant wouldn’t die because it was so hot,” he says. 

Castillo says despite the close flames, they didn’t stop working after realizing there were not in danger. 

"Fortunately strawberries are drip irrigated, they aren’t wet plants,” says Kevin Gee, manager of the farm. 

Gee says the falling ash was dry and easy to manage helping them to keep operations at the farm flowing as usual.

"It was easy for us to vacuum up with our normal bug vacs and vacuum before we picked it,” he says. 

He’s talking about a tractor that has a vacuum attached to it that they ordinarily use for pest management. 

This time it came in handy to protect the crops from all of the ash that was falling on them. 

"Being able to respond quickly to high amounts of ash wasn’t that difficult,” says Gee. 

Castillo says while cleaning up the ash took some time they are grateful they were able to keep working 

"If we couldn’t work there would have been [crop] loss because strawberries have to be picked everyday,” says Castillo. 

Gee says they didn’t have to throw away of their strawberries because of the fire.

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