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Landowners and animals have flooded into the Wauchope Showground as they flee the bushfires on the Mid Coast, many praising the generosity of local organisers.
More than 350 horses, at least 50 cattle, numerous chickens, dogs, cats, alpacas, ponies and even a donkey are now housed at the safe haven run by Wauchope Show Society.
Livestock owners are heading to town in droves as they flee properties under threat by fire in Byabarra, Pembroke, Bellangry, Wingham and surrounding areas.
"They'll be more people and animals coming in today, they seem to come in like flies," said society president Neil Coombes, whose phone has been ringing constantly with new calls for assistance, since the showground opened on Wednesday.
"We're doing what we are doing here. We don't know if we are doing it right but we are doing it.
"There are people from the whole radius such as Toms Creek, Long Flat, Rollands Plains, Byabarra, Telegraph Point and right round to Lake Cathie. There are people from Kendall and Kew, you lose track after a while.
"In total I have no idea how many animals are here at the moment. It's a bit amazing really the way things are happening."
Society volunteers and Mr Coombes are working 24 hours a day until the bushfire emergency is over to keep the gates open for needy residents. Unfortunately he may lose his own property in the process.
"I might have a house to go back to, I might not," said Mr Coombes.
Hastings Co-Op and Wauchope Rural Centre have provided panels for livestock yards, while the Lands Department has contributed stock feed.The showground is appealing for people to bring additional supplies.
Pembroke resident Jasmine White, who is sheltering at the ground with her horse Cassie said the showground organisers are providing vital aid for people in need.
"I think it's really generous of them to provide this place," she said.
"It's really kind to lend out their land considering what happens to our horses and to us doesn't really concern them at all, but they still let us come in."
Kindee resident Michael Freeman, who has moved to the showground with a friends alpacas said it is a weird experience to see so many different animals from the district together.
"It takes a little while to get used to and these alpacas had never even been on a float before. They've settled in quite well really," he said.
"We were going to defend our land with pumps but Kindee Creek has been dry for six months now, usually it's a reliable water source.
"This seemed like the safest place to be. There is feed and bedding for animals being donated aswell, it's a great community effort.
"It's an awesome set up and there's more animals coming in all the time."
Bellangry resident Jack McKinnon who evacuated to the showground said residents are seeking a break from the dire bushfire situation.
"Friday night was our worst night, it was really scary. I think there was three houses wiped out near us then," he said.
"A lot of farms have got old cars and tractors laying around. We've heard of their petrol tanks and batteries exploding which doesn't help the situation.
"Yesterday when I came in here, after we thought we'd done everything we possibly could I went down to the Hastings Hotel.
"I just sat at a table on my own, I didn't talk to anyone and I didn't take my phone because I didn't want anyone to ring me.
"I was trying to block the fire from my mind and I looked up to see the golf was on. So I sat there and watched the golf in America, it takes your mind right off the situation."
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.
Byabarra resident Darren Bennett moved to the showground with his partner Bec, three kids, nine chickens, two ducks, two cats and a dog.
"It's just life. Our kids are safe, my family is safe and that's all that matters to me," he said.
"Kids are 11, 13 and nine. They know exactly what's going on and it's very hard to tell how they are going emotionally.
"All three are very quiet at the moment compared to how they are normally, I think it's a bit of a shock for them.
"We just fight on in this beautiful community. Not only at Byabarra but also here the people are absolutely awesome. I don't think we could be part of a better community."
Ring Neil Coombes on 0418 762 599 if you want to help.
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