Our man steps up to help

Fencing: John Watters, left, with Ben McNamara, of Tumby Bay, and the post-driver they will use to help rebuild fences. Photo: Facebook.

Fencing: John Watters, left, with Ben McNamara, of Tumby Bay, and the post-driver they will use to help rebuild fences. Photo: Facebook.

Destruction and devastation may face Kangaroo Island residents, but their spirits are still well and truly alive.

While the fires have impacted a significant part of the island, resident and former Clare local John Watters encouraged tourists to continue their support.

Mr Watters, moved from the island to Clare, where he worked for about four-and-a-half years at Mid North Real Estate. He lives at Nepean Bay, just out of Kingscote.

"From a tourism point of view, it's very important that the message gets out that it is a great place to come for a holiday," Mr Watters said.

"There's still so much that hasn't been burnt."

He has been touched by the impact the fires have had on farmers throughout the island - with some families losing up to four generations of specific sheep genetics.

Mr Watters said it was easy to say people could replace their sheep, but, with a shortage nationally and the loss of genetics, it wasn't so simple.

"One of the real losses is the sheep studs. It's the phenotype they have lost, you can't just go out and buy that," he said.

In addition, the island has lost hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres of fencing - something Mr Watters was now working on to get boundaries up to help keep in remaining stock.

"One farmer has got 64km of boundary fencing alone. The fire has just gone so far and burnt so much of the agricultural land," he said.

The demand for fencing will continue to increase and, thanks to a friend in Tumby Bay, Mr Watters has been able to borrow a second post-driver.

Mr Watters spent time fighting the fire with his farm unit and has helped to save a few houses throughout this period.

On a positive from this destruction, Mr Watters said the generosity of people on the mainland had been extraordinary.

"A lot of people have a connection to the island of some sort. A lot of people have been very generous. When it all goes, you have nothing to start with. There has been an enormous amount of help and generosity," he said.