WAFarmers offers their condolences to those affected by the ongoing fires in the Shire of Esperance.
The fires, which have torn through areas surrounding Esperance including Salmon Gums, Grass Patch and Stockyard Creek, since yesterday, have claimed the lives of local residents and have damaged property, crops and equipment.
WAFarmers Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brown said the tragedy would have a significant impact on the community.
“The loss of lives in a small community always has a very significant impact, and WAFarmers offers their heartfelt condolences to those affected by this tragedy,” Mr Brown said.
“While insurance may be able to cover the costs of destroyed property and produce, there is nothing that can replace the memories of those who were lost and the impact they had in the community and in the lives of their loved ones.
“Additionally, we are thinking of all those who have lost property, crops and livestock during the fires.
“Farmers work hard to ensure that consumers are provided with the best quality produce, and to have a fire destroy crops and livestock on the back of what was going to be a bumper season is heartbreaking.”
It has been confirmed that a number of WAFarmers members were directly affected by the fires, and Mr Brown said that support would be offered where possible to assist everyone affected to move forward.
Additionally, it was estimated that over 130,000 hectares have been destroyed, in addition to over 15,000 sheep.
Mr Brown urged residents to heed emergency warnings to evacuate and to work cooperatively with emergency service personnel.
“Understandably, local farmers are anxious about the extent on damage on their properties, but we implore them not to put their lives at unnecessary risk by returning to properties while the fires are still raging,” he said.
Check the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website (www.dfes.wa.gov.au) and Twitter feed (@dfes_wa) for the latest information on the fires and for evacuation information.
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].