Counting the cost of Wambelong fire

Counting the cost of Wambelong fire

17 March 2014

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Australia — The Warrumbungle Shire Council has put a dollar figure of more than two and a half million on what last year’s bushfire near Coonabarabran cost it.

Staff have presented a report to councillors counting the cost of the Wambelong bushfire which broke out on January the 13th, 2013 and took two and a half weeks to put out.

It left about 200 people homeless and wiped out 53,000 hectares of National Park and pasture.

More than 1,000 head of stock died and some property dams were drained by water bombing aircraft and the impact is still now being felt by drought affected farmers.

During the fire the council provided around the clock support to the Communications Centre including five administration and four operations staff.

The report says the emotional impact was too much for some employees who subsequently quit their jobs.

The Warrumbungle Council provided equipment including graders, dozers, and water tankers.

$200,000 dollars worth of fencing around the town’s water supply at Timor Dam was lost.

The council says the direct dollar impact was $2.68 million of which $580,000 is unrecoverable.

Other councils in the region also lent staff and equipment to the fire effort.

A report by the general manager Steve Loane, says pledges of financial assistance and actual money provided do not match up.

It says many hours have been spent ‘battling’ with Treasury, Public Works and other agencies to try to recover outstanding funds.

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