A number of wine producers in the Geographe Wine region were directly threatened by fire caused when lightning struck Dwellingup to the north east of the region, on Wednesday 6th January. Fire quickly spread due to high winds and high temperatures in a south westerly direction, towards the towns of Waroona, Yarloop, Cookernup and Harvey.
Under direct threat from the fire were Vineyard 28, Bagieau Road off the Forrest Highway close to Preston Beach, and Moojelup Farm on Thompson Road, Cookernup. Owners of both vineyards made the decision to defend their properties over an extremely difficult four days with the assistance of neighbours and family members. Also under threat was Fifth Estate in Harvey who also had a close call with the fire only 4 kms from their vineyard.
All three wine producers are pleased to announce that none of their vines were lost, or property destroyed, although Moojelup Farm lost 15ha of pasture, fencing and hay as a direct result of the fire. For the affected wine producers it is business as usual for customers wanting to purchase their wines. Vineyard 28, however, has announced their cellar door will be closed until further notice while they assess the damage to the surrounding area.
Vineyard 28 owner Pippa Nielsen said, “we are so relieved and thankful to our neighbours for their help, without them there would be no Vineyard 28. It really was touch and go on Friday when fire surrounded the property”.
Conditions eased over the weekend with cooler temperatures and a drop in the wind gave much needed respite to firefighters throughout the affected area.
Whilst most of the immediate danger was in the north of the Geographe Wine region and in the Peel Wine region, smoke and ash were experienced up to 120kms south in the Margaret River Wine region, and the total area damaged by fire in excess of 72,000 hectares.