Parks funding gap sparks bushfire fears

Residents of Sleaford survey fire’s damage and vow to rebuild

13 November 2012

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Australia– THE sight of whales frolicking in the ocean from his kitchen window has convinced Grant Stagg that he will rebuild his home at fire-ravaged Sleaford.

Mr Stagg, 51, and his wife Linda lost their home of 18 years in Sunday’s fire, which also destroyed holiday cabins, numerous sheds, four vehicles and stock.

As he picked through the pile of twisted metal and rubble yesterday, Mr Stagg said his home stood no chance in Sunday’s inferno.

“The way it was going, I thought: ‘It’s not going to miss us this time’,” he said.

“I just had to get out in the end. I had to accept that I’d lost everything. We have dodged a couple of bullets before; it took the third one to get us.”

Mr Stagg was able to salvage a treasured memory from the rubble: A hand-painted plate his mother gave him before her death in 1999.

He said his wife had had initial reservations about rebuilding at Sleaford.

“When she came back out here (on Monday) and had a bit of a look, it kind of sunk into her why we live here,” Mr Stagg said.

“If you got the right day when you were standing in the kitchen doing the dishes and you looked out over Wreck Beach, you would see a whale. Not many people can say that.

“We live with the threat of bushfire and we respect that and try to plan better for it next time.”

Mr Stagg, who is insured, hopes the latest bushfire will bring change in laws relating to the clearing of native vegetation.

“I don’t want to clear the whole lot of the bush but, if we could just clear out the undergrowth and some of the trees, it would help,” he said.



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