On Tuesday 29th December 2009 fires ravaged an area of farmland north of the town of Badgingarra, WA. The fire swept through over 8,000 ha of land in a 12 hour period, the majority of this being productive farming land. 12 farms and 11 farmers were affected by the fire, many loosing over 50% of their stubble and pastures. The fire left a path of destruction, burning many kilometres of fence, destroying farm machinery and other infrastructure. Approximately 50 head of stock perished but fortunately no houses or human lives were lost.
The fire left a scar on the landscape leaving thousands of hectares of fragile sandplain country bare and exposed to the elements. These farmers have spent decades building the productive capacity of their land and are known in the region for their innovative and conscientious approach to farming production.
On Tuesday 12th February 2010 West Midlands Group convened a technical team comprising of: Paul Findlater (Manager NRM, DAFWA); Stephen Davies (Soil Scientist, DAFWA); David Cameron (Agronomist, FarmanCo); Juliet McDonald (Agronomist, Elders); and Helen Lethlean (Agronomist, Landmark). The group met with a number of the fire affected farmers at a fire affected site to try and assess the damage to productive capacity and estimate future losses.
West Midlands Group has developed a booklet as a follow-up to that meeting. The aim of which is to provide the fire affected farmers with information and past research that may provide as a reference during this challenging time.
Articles may contain references to more research and information which is available from the DAFWA website www.agric.wa.gov.au . Many articles also contain the contact phone number of the relevant researcher. For more specific and individual site assessments Paul Findlater and Stephen Davies from DAFWA are available to conduct individual farm visit. Please contact DAFWA’s Geraldton office on 9956 8555.