TOTAL devastation for many farming communities in Coonabarabran has inspired a Millthorpe farmer to lend a hand.
It was images of hungry stock roaming around blackened paddocks that inspired Michael Fogarty and his wife Kerri to send some of their own cattle fodder to help out.
“My wife and I thought what do you do when you’ve got no fodder?” he said.
“I’d hate to think ... if you couldn’t get the hay you can’t let them starve to death.”
Since the 54,207 hectare fire began at Coonabarabran on January 12 it has wiped out stock, fodder and the livelihood of so many in the area.
Mr and Mrs Fogarty decided to donate 10 round bales of hay through the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) fodder registry.
“It mightn’t seem much but if everyone just did a little,” he said.
Mr Fogarty said the only option for farmers who could not secure enough fodder for their stock would be to sell.
“Hopefully you’d get some feed to keep your breeders going,” he said.
Mr Fogarty has encouraged other farmers across the district to think about donating what they could to these people in need.
The NSW DPI’s registry is looking for donations of fodder, fencing and offers of agistment for struggling farmers around Coonabarabran.
NSW DPI state emergency co-ordinator Simon Oliver said they have already had a number of donations from the Orange region.
“It’s not about feeding them this week or next week, but about feeding them over the next month,” he said.
“The fire would have been so hot, there’s just nothing left but dirt and rock.
“Because it’s burnt so badly I think it’d take a few decent rainfalls especially when it’s so hot.”
Mr Oliver said rainfall received over Coonabarabran last week only added to the problems.
“All the soot has washed down off the hills and into the water, it’s just like a black slurry,” he said.
The NSW DPI will arrange delivery of fodder or fencing materials direct to farmers who need it in bushfire affected areas across Coonabarabran, Yass and Cooma.
To register fodder, agistment or fencing materials with the NSW DPI call them on 1800 814 647.