With the Esperance bush fires finally coming under control the attention now is strongly focused on helping those who have lost so much from the devastating blaze which started on Wednesday 18th November 2015. It is estimated over 150 000 hectares of land have been destroyed in the regions around Esperance, including Scaddan, Grass Patch, Salmon Gums to Norseman. The fires came at the worst possible time with grain farmers midway through harvesting, what was supposed to be a record breaking season. But the greatest tragedy would be the loss of four lives:
- Anna Winther, 29, from Norway
- Julia Kohrs-Lichte, 19, from Germany
- Thomas Butcher, 31, from England, and
- Esperance farmer, Kym Curnow, 45, who was killed while driving around warning neighbours about the blaze.
All money raised through the AusViet Charity Foundation will go to the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund. The fund was set up in 1961 “to provide relief of personal hardship and distress arising from natural disasters occurring within Western Australia” and Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi has guaranteed that “the cost of administrating the funds are absorbed by the City of Perth, so all money raised will go directly to those who need it most.”
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Unpredictable and strong winds made the fire ‘unfightable’ at times (supplied: ABC News)
One of the properties destroyed by the blaze (supplied: ABC News)
The enormity of the fires could be appreciated from the air (Supplied: Facebook / ABC Goldfields)
Kim Curnow, with family, died warning others about the fire (supplied: ABC News)
Tanna Winther, left, and Julia Kohrs-Lichte were killed along with Thomas Butcher when their vehicle became trapped in a bushfire. (supplied: Facebook)