South West Catchments Council is calling on our community to get behind farmers affected by bushfires that ravaged the region this month. Until the end of March, all donations to SWCC will be used to support farmers in their efforts to protect and enhance native bushland.
Blazes burned out of control in the shires of Denmark, Bridgetown, Narrogin, Wickepin, Quairading, Corrigin, Kondinin and Kulin, burning over 60,000 hectares of land and destroying eight properties. Large numbers of cattle and sheep were killed and vital pastures for remaining livestock were scorched, leading to heavy financial losses.
Alongside the devastating consequences for agricultural productivity, the fires have impacted areas of remnant and planted native vegetation, along with destroying the fencing required to protect these natural areas from livestock.
One of these areas was Rosebrook Farm, east of Narrogin. Property owner, Angus Armstrong, received a $25,000 grant from SWCC in 2017 to help protect and rehabilitate 89 hectares of remnant bushland. Much of the fencing installed to exclude livestock has been damaged or destroyed in the fire, along with planted trees.
Angus, who is also dealing with major stock losses, said it was hard to see the impact that fire has had on the farm: “Unfortunately [we’ve seen] the loss of the last three years of plantings. Any trees that were a few years old are gone.
“It’s heartbreaking to see, behind us there was a massive eagle’s nest in one of the biggest trees, I tried to show the kids the other night and it’s fallen and completely burnt…At night you could see the big trees glowing right to the top, obviously the fire got inside them.
“Areas like this that have never had stock in them are now not fenced at all. I’ve got a bit of time before stock will come back into the surrounding paddocks but I really need these areas fenced by then because if the sheep get in, they’ll eat anything green, anything reshooting before they re-establish.”
From now until the end of March, any donations to SWCC’s South West Environment Fund will be diverted to farmers to replace and restore fencing and revegetation originally funded through a SWCC grant. Farmers requiring assistance are encouraged to contact us at [email protected] to register their interest in receiving support.