Premier tours fire scarred SE community |PHOTOS

Premier, Emergency Services Minister visit Blackford fire ground


Premier Steven Marshall has praised the "resilient and hard working" Lucindale and Avenue Range communites in how they enacted their bushfire plans and how they responded to the devastating blaze which ripped through more than 14,000 hectares within a few hours on Monday.


Premier Steven Marshall has praised the "resilient and hard working" Lucindale community in how they enacted their bushfire plans in the devastating Blackford blaze which ripped through more than 14,000 hectares within a few hours on Monday.

RELATED:Blackford fire damage assessments nearing completion

On a tour of the fire ground today (Friday) with Emergency Services Minister Vincent Tarzia and CFS chief officer Mark Jones, he said it was a "fire that could have gone horribly wrong".

He acknowledged the outstanding work of the CFS volunteers and farm fire units to bring such a ferocious grass fire under control and how the community was responding in the aftermath.

RELATED: SE landholders count devastating toll of Blackford blaze

"In particularly I'd like to acknowledge Patrick Ross the (CFS) incident controller and John Probert the regional commander, their planning, work on the ground and coordination with emergency services and the aircrew has meant that this fire has been contained with no loss of life, minimal injury to CFS volunteers and minimised property damage," he said.

But Mr Marshall said at this stage there were no plans to offer the 70 affected primary producers similar cash grants as were made available to those impacted by 2019-20 fires. These farmers had access to up to $75,000 each to assist in the clean up and rebuild of their properties.

"Last years' bushfires were quite extraordinary because of the sheer scale and the inability of us to get high level support from PIRSA and other areas so we did instead provide cash grants to help those areas," Mr Marshall said.

"Typically the state government hasn't provide support to every fire incident, in many areas there are high levels of fire insurance."

PIRSA's latest estimates of livestock losses sit at 6756 sheep and more than 147 cattle but Member for MacKillop Nick McBride warns the final cattle losses were likely to escalate to more than 1000 head.

"What is probably not recognised is that some (producers) lose a whole lot more than others ," he said.

"We do know there has been a stud at Avenue that has lost 90 per cent of those cattle.

"We know there is another property not far from Avenue that lost 60pc of their sheep and they were all their young sheep and there was another not far away that lost a huge proportion of their sheep too."

Mr McBride said there was a "high human toll" for those producers who had lost stock, but there could also be a high economic cost, especially if producers did not have their stock insured at current record market values.

"The other thing with livestock is a lot of people have their own desires for the type they are running and you won't buy on the market," he said.

Mr McBride said there had been an outpouring of generosity from the South East and beyond with hay flowing into the area within 24 hours of the fire and many surviving stock on agistment.

But he stressed the importance of ensuring any donations were well-coordinated and impacted farmers and residents had time to take stock of what assistance would be most useful.

"Last year was a completely different story, we had three major fires, one at Kangaroo Island, one in the Hills and one at the Keilira, the Keilira residents felt like they were the forgotten fire," he said.

"This fire Lucindale finds itself as the only fire (this year) and the amount of support that is out there and the help that is out there is huge.

"We need to ensure it is well-managed and what we need and we are not flooded."

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