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Fires rip through parts of WA Wheatbelt

Liz Wells, February 7, 2022

Fire tears across wheat stubble at Bruce Rock in the WA Wheatbelt on Sunday. Photo: Leigh Strange

BUSHFIRES are burning in parts of Western Australia’s Wheatbelt, with infrastructure on a number of farms already destroyed.

Media reports say more than 60,000 hectares has been burnt to date.

Yesterday, the fires moved mostly through open farmland, fanned by strong and gusty winds, and fuelled by stubble from the biggest winter crop WA has ever grown.

Milder weather today is assisting firefighters in bringing blazes under control in the Bruce Rock, Kondinin, Kulin, Merredin and Quairading shires, where emergency warnings have today been downgraded to watch and act

However, a return to very hot conditions with maximum temperatures in the 35-42 degrees Celsius range are expected again on Thursday and Friday over much of the WA wheatbelt.

Earlier fires in WA did significant damage in forest country in Great Southern districts including Denmark and Bridgetown, and still pose threats to property.

Footage in the Twitter clip below from Bruce Rock farmer Leigh Strange indicates the ferocity of yesterday’s wind.

Main Roads WA has closed a number of roads due to the danger posed by the fires.

They include the Williams-Kondinin road from Narrogin to Wickepin, and Bruce Rock-Quairading Road.

Brookton Highway between Brookton and Corrigin remains open with caution, but with most grain either at CBH Group storages or in sealed on-farm sheds, grain losses are thought to be minimal.

“CBH sites and infrastructure have so far escaped significant damage from the bushfires currently burning in the Wheatbelt but we are still assessing the situation,” a CBH spokesperson said.

“Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted, and we thank the firefighters, emergency services and volunteers who are continuing to keep people and communities safe.”

ANZ announces relief package

ANZ as one of Australia’s four major banks today announced a financial relief package for customers affected by ongoing bushfires across WA’s South-West, Great Southern and whealtbelt regions.

In a statement, ANZ said the fires have destroyed multiple farms, homes, businesses, and bushland, and had put lives at risk.

ANZ general manager WA Kathleen Jahour said the fires have already destroyed a lot of farmland and residential properties.

“Many of the fires remain uncontained at this stage, creating extremely dangerous conditions for both residents and the firefighters who put so much on the line to protect the community.”

“At the appropriate time, when people are able to shift their focus to recovering and rebuilding, we hope these relief measures will help our customers as they deal with this confronting experience.”

Source: Emergency WA, Main Roads WA, ANZ

 

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