The Thomas Fire was the largest fire in California in modern history. The blaze damaged or destroyed over 1,000 structures, burned thousands of acres of land and led to a number of deaths and injuries. However, no industry or group of businesses was hit harder than the farmers and fruit and vegetable Growers in Ventura County. In a preliminary report from the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner, the agricultural damage from the fire was estimated at over $171,000,00, not inclusive of the lost wages from workers.
The Thomas Fire swept through 272,000 acres overall. From an agricultural standpoint, Avocado groves bore the brunt of the losses from December’s Thomas Fire. In fact, avocado groves represented nearly 65 percent of the agricultural land damaged by the fire. All in all, about 10,000 acres of agriculture land was damaged or destroyed by the fire, including about 6,603 acres of avocados, 1,767 acres of lemons, 542 acres of oranges, 166 acres of tangerines, 155 acres of walnuts, 45 acres of strawberries, 23 acres of nursery crops, 4 acres of cut flowers and 2 acres of raspberries.
The Walkup Fire Team is representing growers of all these products.
Including those mentioned above, 38 different crops were affected in the burn area, and many growers also lost structures and homes.
Some growers estimate that 15% or more of the 2017-18 avocado crop in the county was lost in the fire, with high winds knocking some of the developing fruit off the trees.
In Ventura County avocado growing occupies about 18,500 acres.
In February the Walkup fire team was retained by the Rancho Ventura Conservation Trust in association with nationally recognized trial attorney, Ventura native Bob Boatman of Gallagher & Kennedy, to file an action seeking damages for losses caused by the Thomas Fire. We also participated in a free meeting intended to serve as a resource for wildfire victims and to initiate a conversation about options for growers and farmers. If you are a grower or farmer who’s livelihood was affected by the Thomas Fire, call the Walkup Fire Team to find out how we can help.