Drakesbrook wiped out by Waroona bushfire

DRAKESBROOK Winery's vineyards have been completely destroyed by the Waroona bushfire overnight.

Drakesbook owner found out the news early this morning after evacuating to Mandurah last night.

"We're not there at the moment, but we’ve been told by the neighbours that the whole vineyard’s been burnt out," he said.

"We cleared out at about 9 o’clock last night when it started to get really, really nasty.

"We had some visiting English people in a caravan there, and we didn’t want them to get caught up so we let them out and sent them down to the Waroona Oval. They got relocated to Mandurah shortly after that, and we came into town.”

Mr Worthington said they had been up all night constantly monitoring social media feeds and weather warnings.

"We spent all night on Facebook and Twitter and on the phones, just getting messages. We found out that the fire had hit at 1 o’clock this morning, and it was confirmed later on this morning that the whole thing was gone.”

Strong winds had been blowing the bushfire west overnight, with Drakesbook Winery laying in the path between the source of the fire and Waroona township.

Mr Worthington said the intensity of the fire and wind prevented them from fully preparing for the fire.

"The wind was so strong that there’s nothing we could’ve done anyway," he said.

Even if we were there, we couldn’t fight it. We just had to move all the machinery out into the open and keep our fingers crossed.”

The replacement cost for the vineyards at Drakesbook is expected to cost thousands of dollars.

"It’s a 12 hectare site, and you’re looking at about $60,000 per hectare to replace it, and three years for it to grow back," Mr Worthington said.

"So it’s a lot of money and work, but until we get down there and see it ourselves, we won’t know to full extent of the damage.”

More information on the bushfire is available at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website: dfes.wa.gov.au

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