According to Cal Fire, nearly 750,00 acres have burned in California with the Mendocino fire consuming over 300,000 acres. Around 13,000 firefighters are battling blazes in California, and most have not been contained. These fires are causing a lot of smoke, some of which is moving into other areas of the West. Growers in California and southern Oregon that are closer to the fires report heavy smoke, which is impacting hay growth and the ability to cure alfalfa hay.
In Diamond Valley, Nev., growers reported that smoky conditions were delaying current production of alfalfa, as the hay was not curing normally due to smoke that they say is coming from California. This was also verified by satellite images from space that showed the massive fires in California and how smoke was traveling throughout the West. Growers in Washington know firsthand what smoke can do when putting up alfalfa hay. Much of the third cutting alfalfa hay in Washington last year had smoke damage.