A bushfire which started in Bunbartha, a small town in Northern Victoria, Australia, has caused havoc to many Standardbred farms and harness racing properties within a 30 kilometre area.
Geoff Barnes of Balmain Lodge at Bunbartha North of Shepparton is just one person that has been affected by the fire.
“We have a 97 acre farm and the majority of it is now black,” said a disgruntled Barnes. “We have lost 250 large round bales of hay, fencing and a few house water tanks, there is also damage to the house,” he added.
“However we won’t be able to tell the extent of the damage until the power comes back on, it has been off since Sunday.”
Although clearly disappointed about the unfortunate event, Barnes was pleased with how the local community and the CFA (Country Fire Authority) had helped in our hours of need. Geoff also said that Harness Racing Victoria had contacted everybody offering their assistance with immediate needs.
“The main thing is that I believe that all the people and horses came through it unscathed,” said Barnes.
“The CFA were great and minimized the amount of damage as only they can,” he added.
Barnes said that fire had spread quickly due to the strong winds and the extremely dry pastures and other fuel that dry farmlands provide.
“There has also been major damage done to our neighboring properties, including Warwick stud and the harness racing stables of John and Maree Newberry.”
“We must have lost 10 – 15 miles of fencing just in the three farms in our block” advised Barnes.
Barnes applauded Alabar’s Echuca stud farm for their offer to agist horses that have become homeless or without viable pasture.
“They have led the way through this whole ordeal,” revealed Barnes.
Barnes also advised that there had been a lot of damage to harness racing properties in the Kilmore region and that area is still under threat of further damage.
By Mitchell Robertson