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Wauchope Showground opened its gates to people and animals fleeing the bushfires and they have been amazed by the response.
"I've never seen anything like yesterday. We have 35 horses here at the moment, alpacas, dogs and cats, from Byabarra, all around the Hastings and even Wingham," said Wauchope Show Society president, Neil Coombes who was there for 15 hours from Friday morning.
"It was terrifying, and for people who were right in the fire, I can't explain how they feel. My Mum saw something like this when she was 15 and that was 73 years ago. So keep safe everyone, that's the big thing."
The Showground will be open 24 hours a day until the emergency is over, and they're appealing for people to bring food as they are running short on supplies of bread, sandwiches, tea, coffee and milk. Ring Neil on 0418 762 599 if you want to help. The Lands Department arrived on Saturday with stock feed for the animals.
Maxine Abi-Saab and her daughters, Nicola and Hannah brought six horses and three alpacas from their home in Sancrox and stayed all night with them at the showground just to be safe.
"We were concerned about the fire coming across the highway, because it's so dry, so we decided to move them yesterday, while it was safe and in daylight rather than the middle of the night," said Maxine.
"We stayed here and had some wonderful assistance and care from the Wauchope Show Society. They came to check that we were okay and offered us food and water, so a big shout-out to them. We are luckier than a lot of people," she said.
FODDER AND ANIMAL WELFARE HELP AVAILABLE:
Bushfire affected landholders and community members seeking emergency fodder, emergency water, livestock or domestic animal assessment are urged to call the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.
Calls for assistance are already being received via the hotline and are being responded to by the DPI, Local Land Services and other supporting organisations such as the RSPCA.
Once the fire ground is declared safe, staff will be on the ground assisting fire-affected communities in northern New South Wales to manage animal welfare-related issues including:
- Emergency fodder
- Emergency stock water (for immediate animal welfare cases only)
- Animal assessment and veterinary assistance
- Animal euthanasia and burial
- Care of animals in evacuation centres
Access to the fire grounds remains challenging, making it difficult to fully assess damage.
However infrastructure, stock and wildlife losses are expected to be known over the coming days.
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