SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Washington's apple crop will be up to 10% smaller than expected because wildfires and extreme windstorms have battered orchards in recent weeks, the Washington Apple Commission said Wednesday.

Washington supplies 65% of the nation's fresh apple crop each year, and the commission in August estimated the 2020 crop would total 134 million 40-pound boxes.

But over Labor Day weekend, a strong windstorm moving through central Washington state knocked many apples off trees, and damaged some trellis systems, the commission said.

The wind also fueled wildfires that produced intense smoke, preventing employees from safely working in orchards, the commission said.

Finally, more accurate reporting of how many apples were on trees found a lighter crop volume than expected, the commission said.

As a result, the commission is predicting this year's apple crop will be 5% to 10% lower than predicted.

Harvest runs from August to November, with most of the apples grown in irrigated orchards in central Washington, in a band running from the Oregon border to the Canadian border.

The state exports one-third of its fresh crop to over 60 countries, accounting for 95 percent of all U.S. apple exports, the commission said.

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