A Wapato Orchardist Takes a Look at Damage after Fire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

A Wapato Orchardist Takes a Look at Damage after Fire

YAKIMA, Wa -  People who live near Konnowac Pass did not suffer any big losses from the fire, but they did lose some sleep.  A Wapato man says he was up all night trying to protect his orchard.  This afternoon, he invited us to join him while he assessed the damage first hand...

"You can see here the fire came down the valley here," Jim Doornink, owner of Doornink Fruit Ranch.

He says when the wind came, the flames were almost twenty feet high.

"This one was pretty big as far as fires go."

And it came awfully close to his property.  Windbreaks were scorched.  The heat from the fire burned between 15 and 20 apricot trees.

"You know yesterday this was a green Apricot tree.  Today, it's pretty cooked," says Doornink 

He's not sure how many he'll be able to save. "I'm hoping we can cut it back pretty hard and maybe it's gonna grow in the next couple of weeks," says Doornink, "If it doesn't, we'll take it out and replace it."

Doornink says he'll also have to make repairs to his irrigation system, but overall losses were minimal.  No one was hurt and he did not lose any expensive equipment.  That may be because Doornink and his workers stayed up all night with firefighters.  He cut fire breaks with his tractor while they mopped up little fires near the orchard.

Doornink says the brush was really thick and dry this summer.  A wet spring caused the brush to grow more than usual.  Once the fire started, there was a lot of fuel to keep it burning.

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