The following statement was read into Parliament this morning by the Member for Roe, Mr Peter Rundle.
MR P. RUNDLE:
On 7 February this year, a fire started north west of Katanning. That afternoon and evening farms, buildings and fences were damaged, but thanks to the incredible efforts of volunteer firefighters, the fire was contained. However, the following day catastrophic fire conditions developed with winds at 50 kilometres an hour and the temperature above 40 degrees Celsius. As the fire and conditions intensified, the community braced for what soon became an out-of-control bushfire heading straight towards the town. The battle continued long into the night with a strong westerly pushing the fire right to the edge of the town on two sides.
I cannot name them all but I would like to make special mention of a few people and places who were invaluable during this time: our shire president Liz Guidera, who went above and beyond; shire CEO, Julian Murphy; Cindy Pearce, chief fire control officer; Matt Kerin; volunteer fire control officers, Dale Douglas, Geoff Stade, Norm Flugge, Ian Coleman, Alan Wilson and Chris Quartermaine; local business owners Tania and Clint Edwards; the Katanning Hub community resource centre; Kobeelya Centre; and Nyabing Country Women’s Association.
At the peak of the fire there were over 300 firefighters, water bombers and soon a Boeing 737. One home was sadly lost, and others damaged. Over 4,000 hectares was burnt, 80 kilometres of fencing was destroyed, 50 power poles were down, and livestock was lost. Response teams included volunteer farmers, and bush firefighters from across WA and surrounding shires.
Thanks also go out to BlazeAid, which did not hesitate to send a team of volunteers.