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Hay trucked in for fire victims

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

A Narrogin cattle farmer and trucking company have joined forces to deliver desperately needed hay to fire-impacted Northcliffe farms.

Angus-breed enthusiast John Young and Fairway Carriers owner Charlie Young responded swiftly for calls from burnt-out Northcliffe livestock farms to provide relief feed for their stressed and hungry herds.

The good Samaritans provided a truck free of charge, loaded with more than 30 tonnes of hay at the peak of the fire threat.

"John gave me a call and asked if we could help him out to get a load of hay to Northcliffe to help out and we got onto it for him straight away," Charlie said.

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"As you can imagine it was a bit of a daunting task trucking hay into a fire ground, so we had to wait around for two hours in Pemberton to be escorted by fire authorities to access the farms.

"When we reached the farms the cows were so happy to see us and just about broke the gates down trying to get to the food."

Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture and Food WA has continued liaise with impacted landholders, visiting properties and providing crucial support with access to services.

About 40 rural properties were in the fire-affected area and have potentially been impacted.

DAFWA Southern Region regional manager Neil Guise said Manjimup officers played a crucial farmer liaison and support role since early last week.

"In particular, Ian Guthridge and Jason Dearle have been a conduit for determining farmers' needs, assessing damage, and facilitating support - including with permit access," he said. "Their local knowledge and emergency experience enabled crucial access into the area to provide assistance to maintain ongoing power support to assist with dairy operations."

Mr Guise said major issues for recovery relate to feed for stock where pastures have been burnt and fencing destroyed.

DAFWA took on an interim emergency response role co-ordinating enquires regarding livestock and feed supplies until the recovery team could be activated.

The Southern Forest Food Council has taken over co-ordination of a feed register, distribution and agistment inquires.

DAFWA is also monitoring the situation at Boddington, where 32 properties may have been impacted and six stock losses have been reported.

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