THE damage to properties and crops in last Thursday’s fire north of Biboohra was extensive, and one such family who tragically lost their home as a result of the blaze were the Stewarts.
With the help of his son, nephew and two brothers, Allan Stewart did everything he could to save his home and more than 7,000 mango trees as the fire rapidly ripped through his 200 acre property.
“We were battling the fire for two or three hours just to save what we could on the property,” Mr Stewart said.
“However the combination of the time of the day and the wind gusts was too much for us to handle, and as a result we unfortunately lost our family home where my wife and I raised four kids along with 3,000 mango trees.
“Thankfully we were able to save the trees out the back courtesy of firebreaks that we put in place.”
As he prepares to rebuild his operation, Mr Stewart said the cost to rejuvenate the crop will be significant.
“It’s hard to put a figure on exactly what the financial loss will be, however given the amount of trees we lost in the fire, it could cost our yield up to $600,000,” he said.
Despite the lasting impact this natural event could have on the Stewart family both from a financial and emotional standpoint, their resolve in the face of adversity has been admirable.
“We’re definitely all still in a bit of shock, but we have to remain positive and support each other throughout this ordeal,” he said.
“Out of everyone it’s been my wife Dianne who has been hit really hard – she had a lot of personal belongings in the home which mean a lot to her so for them to be gone has been really tough.”
“But I’m confident we’ll be able to rebuild and the boys will be able to run this operation for another 20 to 30 years.”
Mr Stewart said he would like to thank the community who have showed enormous support since the incident.
“The amount of letters I have received from people I don’t know and the number of people who have called in to pass on their condolences is what gets me,” he said.
“Their support has been fantastic and it goes to show what a wonderful community we have here.”