Finch Hatton and many other parts of the Pioneer Valley were badly affected by fires in recent days.
Finch Hatton and many other parts of the Pioneer Valley were badly affected by fires in recent days. Emma Murray

Community rallies to help farmers feed animals after fire

AS THE residents of the upper Pioneer Valley return to their homes, farmers are surveying their lands to find their feedstock destroyed.

Finch Hatton residents Christine Pollard and Luana Royle have started a fundraising campaign to make sure farmers and pet-owners affected by the fire have enough food for their animals.

The "Fodder for the Fire" fundraiser will provide hay bales for livestock and pet food for dogs, cats and birds.

Since Friday, the fundraiser had already raised enough money to buy 400 bales of fresh cut lucerne hay.

Donations will only be used to buy Mackay hay, ensuring that the money stays within the region, Mrs Pollard said.

The campaign began when Mrs Pollard saw some bales of hay for sale on Facebook.

She said didn't hesitate and immediately inboxed the farmer to buy 50 bales.

Mrs Pollard said she was inspired to help the farmers after seeing the efforts of all of the Rural Fire Service volunteers, saying "they've been out working to save our houses so it's time we helped them".

So far, the community's response has been wonderful, Mrs Pollard said.

Mackay-region farmers have agreed to send in their hay, while truck drivers have volunteered their time to move the bales.

However, until the pastures grow back, Mrs Pollard said farmers would struggle to feed their livestock.

She said she would continue to organise donations until the pastures of Netherdale, the Eungella range, Darylmpe Heights and Credition were green again.

Raffle tickets will also be sold until February.

Already 13 businesses have donated prizes, but Ms Royle is calling for more. "The more (prizes) we have the better the raffle will be and the more people will want to donate".

Ms Royle said the region's recovery could take months, but reducing the burden of even feeding smaller animals could make all the difference.

"People are so busy about trying to recover and get themselves sorted out.

"Now they don't need to find extra money to get food for their animals."