BRIDGEPORT – Apples Gov. Jay Inslee brought to eastern Washington fire areas have tested positive for apple maggot larvae, according to Douglas County officials.
Inslee visited Okanogan and Douglas counties Saturday morning to survey damage from the Cold Springs and Pearl Hill fires.
“With him he also brought honey crisp apples grown at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia, some of which he also gifted to the town of Malden and a retirement home in Omak during his visits in the days prior,” a statement from the official Douglas County government Facebook page. “Unfortunately, we learned today that the apples that were delivered to Omak have tested positive for apple maggot larvae.”
Thurston County is an apple maggot quarantine area, but Douglas County is not.
“We are desperately seeking the help of all Bridgeport and Douglas County residents or anyone who may have any information to help us locate the apples that were brought to Bridgeport,” officials said Wednesday afternoon. “We know that they were left at the Foursquare Church shortly after 11 a.m., but they have not been seen since and we have been unable to find a contact with knowledge of their location.
“There is reason to believe that they may have been dumped in a local orchard or transported with other, non-contaminated apples from the area,” officials said. “Apple maggots are an incredibly serious pest and could have dire consequences for the orchardists of Douglas County if we are unable to find the infected apples and mitigate the effects immediately.
“Douglas County orchardists, regulators, and processors have worked tireless to ensure that our area stays free of apple maggots and this event could have serious implications for the region,” officials said. “It is of the utmost importance these apples are safely disposed of immediately.”
Douglas County authorities said anyone with information about the location of the tainted apples should contact Chelan-Douglas Horticultural Pest and Disease board director Will Carpenter at 509-667-6677, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.