Farmers rally to help fire victims

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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Donations continue to pour in from across the State to help farmers affected by devastating fires at Waroona and Yarloop.

Waroona farmers Donna and Mike Walmsley, who have been co-ordinating the effort to get supplies to farmers their area, said the response from farmers and contractors from across WA had been overwhelming.

"We have received hay rolls, hay bales and large squares (some of them export quality), chaff, pony cubes, silage rolls, tinned food for humans, paletts of pet food and linen and bedding," Mrs Walmsley said.

She said at last count 72 farmers in her area had received donated goods, which had come from as far as the central and eastern Wheatbelt.

The effort kicked off with the recent convoy of seven B-double trucks loaded with hay, which was organised by Kelly Battista of Grass Valley.

Since then there have been a further 20 trucks from all parts of WA, including Brookton, Beverley, Denmark, Albany, Tammin, Geraldton, Margaret River, Kojonup and Wandering, taking part.

And there have been numerous calls to the Walmsleys from people wanting to make further donations.

Mrs Walmsley said transporters had also been generous. She said Steve Duggan of Cowara Contractors, had delivered more than 10 trucks full with hay to the area some fuel depots had supplied diesel.

Mrs Walmsley said the initial challenge of getting donations to affected farmers in the area because of road blocks had been resolved.

The Walmsleys - who tlost about 50ha of their 250ha property but consider themselves lucky not to not lose buildings or livestock - said farmers in the area were grateful for all donations but in particular were still in need of hay, fencing supplies and polypipe.

"Some people are donating through their local Elders representatives by nominating an amount from their account and asking their rep to deliver or organise fencing or poly pipe, which is another thing the farmers lost," she said.

Meanwhile, BlazeAid said about 100 people had registered their interest in volunteering to help farmers rebuild their fences around the area.

Volunteer co-ordinator Brian Carr expected teams would be in the area rebuilding fences for the next three months.

He said there was plenty of need for further volunteers, who could register their interest by calling him on 0428 984 117 or emailing blazeaid.waroona@gmail.com .

The Shire of Waroona has appointed Lewis Winter to co-ordinate further donations. Those wanting to donate and affected farmers needing supplies can call Mr Winter on 97 337 800.

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