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Vic clean-up begins after weekend rain -

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TONY EASTLEY: Rain in Victoria over the weekend has dampened bushfires in the State's east and
north-east, but many communities are still on edge.

Those near the menacing fires say the worst part is waiting to find out if their property is next
in line.

Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Nearly 600 Victorian farms have been burnt since the bushfire emergency began in
December.

Fifteen hundred head of livestock have been killed and 18,000 hectares of pasture and crops
destroyed.

Michael Boyd manages emergency response for the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.

He says the full impact of the fires often hits home long after the emergency has ended.

MICHAEL BOYD: People seem to cope really well immediately after the incident because they're
focused on doing things. They're focused on getting their stock fixed and making sure they've got
somewhere to sleep at night.

But after two to three weeks when, you know, the adrenaline rush I guess of this has died away,
that's the point at which many people start to feel quite concerned and upset about the losses that
they've incurred.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Colin Andrews is a beef cattle farmer at Rose River in Victoria's north-east.

The fires came through his property in early December. In a stroke of luck, 50 head of his cattle
were trucked out on the morning of the fire. He didn't lose any livestock, but plenty of feed and
fencing were destroyed.

Colin Andrews agrees that the aftermath of the fire has brought more worries than the fire itself.

COLIN ANDREWS: You're so busy flat out protecting your property and while it is stressful you're
just too busy to sort of be aware of the stress.

But it's really the changed conditions that the fire brings that actually I think causes the
stress. Afterwards, your feed regime is changed. The water problem could be more difficult than
what it already is with the drought, if you're getting sort of pollution from the fire into your
waters.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Doctor George Miller is the Senior Veterinary Officer for the Victorian
north-east. He's part of the rural recovery teams that get out to fire-affected farms as soon as
possible.

Dr Miller says the worst part of the job is advising farmers if any injured animals can be saved.

GEORGE MILLER: People generally won't sort of settle down while they've got burnt stock because
there's sort of two things that tend to happen, one they don't particularly want to go and shoot
them, because you know, they know their animals and herds. And the other thing is, they shoot too
many of them, so people sort of react differently.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: But farmer, Colin Andrews, says that despite the double whammy of drought and
bushfire he and his neighbours have no plans to leave the land.

COLIN ANDREWS: Certainly people were stressed with the drought anyway but we were coping with that.
Yes, with the fire on top it added an extra burden, but it's just an added stress which you've
sorta got to roll with the punches.

TONY EASTLEY: Victorian farmer, Colin Andrews, ending Samantha Donovan's report.