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SWCC fundraiser to help fire-affected Wheatbelt farmers restore lost vegetation

Jacinta CantatoreBunbury Herald
Narrogin farmer Angus Armstrong lost native vegetation and livestock fencing in the blaze.
Camera IconNarrogin farmer Angus Armstrong lost native vegetation and livestock fencing in the blaze. Credit: SWCC

South West residents are being asked to support their regional neighbours through a fundraiser to help fire-affected farmers in the Wheatbelt.

The out-of-control fires that burned in the shires of Denmark, Bridgetown, Narrogin, Wickepin, Quairading, Corrigin, Kondinin and Kulin, destroyed more than 60,000ha of land, including eight properties.

Thousands of cattle and sheep were killed in the fires, but for the livestock lucky enough to survive the remaining feeding pastures were scorched, leaving affected farmers footing the huge costs of replacement feed.

Alongside these devastating impacts on the State’s agriculture sector, the fires also affected areas of remnant and planted native vegetation, along with destroying the fencing needed to protect these areas from livestock.

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Until the end of March, all donations to the South West Catchments Council-organised fundraiser will go to support farmers’ efforts to protect and enhance native bushland, such as those of Narrogin farmer Angus Armstrong.

In 2017 Mr Armstrong received a $25,000 grant to help protect and rehabilitate 89ha of remnant bushland at his property, Rosebrook Farm.

Most of the fencing and revegetated land was damaged or destroyed in the fires.

Narrogin farmer Angus Armstrong's restored vegetation zone before the blaze.
Camera IconNarrogin farmer Angus Armstrong's restored vegetation zone before the blaze. Credit: SWCC
The restored vegetation zone after the fires.
Camera IconThe restored vegetation zone after the fires. Credit: SWCC

Also dealing with significant stock losses, Mr Armstrong 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,” he said.

“Any trees that were a few years old are gone.

“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 donations made to SWCC will be diverted to farmers to replace and restore fencing and revegetation originally funded through a SWCC grant.

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