Bushfire damage to cost WA up to AU$50m

Extensive damage to state-owned pine plantations after the Waroona bushfire is set to cost the Western Australian economy up to AU$50 million in lost revenue reports ABC News. The bushfire, which was started by lightning in January, claimed two lives and destroyed more than 160 properties in the South West shires of Harvey and Waroona.

The blaze burnt through more than 3,300 of the 5,000 hectares of Forest Products Commission (FPC) pine plantations in McLarty, Myalup, Bombara and Eckersley in the Myalup coast region. In addition, a further 25 hectares at the Myalup plantation were damaged during the Harvey bushfire last week.

The FPC estimates it will lose up to 500,000 cubic metres in future resource or the equivalent to one year’s supply to major log processors. General manager of operations at the FPC, Gavin Butcher, told 684 ABC South West it was the largest plantation loss the commission had ever experienced.

“It is a very, very substantial loss of growth … that 500,000 cubic metres of timber is probably worth between AU$30 [million] and AU$50 million worth of timber values, that is in the future lost from the regional economy because it takes a long time to replace that,” he said. The lost revenue applies over a 20- to 30-year time period, and in the short term the lost trees will cost the FPC about AU$8 million to replace, as the plantations were not insured.

Source: ABC News