A convoy of trucks is delivering much-needed hay to farmers in the Adelaide Hills, following a week of catastrophic bushfire conditions in the region.
The Cudlee Creek bushfire, in the Adelaide Hills, has destroyed almost 500 outbuildings and hundreds of vehicles as well as livestock, pets and crops over the past week.
In total across the state more than 40,000 hectares of land have been blackened, with the Cudlee Creek fire and another at Duncan, on Kangaroo Island at advice level this weekend.
Livestock SA chief executive Andrew Curtis said about 700 tonnes of hay had been donated to farmers who were struggling to feed their surviving stock.
"We've had seven trucks come in, semi-trailers loaded with hay from the Fleurieu Peninsula, and it's just part of the great donations of hay we've been receiving all week," he said. "Farmers from all over the state have been donating hay and a lot of the truck drivers who work with those farmers are donating their time and their fuel to get the hay in." Trucks have been making trips to Oakbank Oval to pick up and drop off the bales. One of those in need is hobby farmer Eileen Williams, who picked up 22 bales of hay today.
"It makes a lot of difference. What I would like to do is thank these farmers who have donated this hay. This is amazing, and also the volunteers, it's just been incredible."
David Checker is one of the many volunteers donating his time to help out. He is helping transport hay bales to a dairy farmer in need at Mount Torrens.
"These are going to Mount Torrens for some dairy cattle where a paddock was burnt out. We're just taking them as a bit of a fill-in feed for them," he said. "[It makes] a big difference I hope, they've probably got nothing but black ground to walk around on to try and find something to eat. "There's basically nothing for them to eat. They are in totally blackened paddocks." Mr Curtis said he hoped the donations would make a big difference and give farming families one less thing to worry about. "It's something they don't need to worry about as much. They still need to nurse sick animals, but they don't need to worry about the feed," he said. "I think they appreciate it. We have a whole heap of volunteers that appreciate being able to help."
'Mini-city' acts as resting place for firefighters Meanwhile, a "mini-city" has popped up on Kangaroo Island to give weary firefighters a place to rest while battling the Duncan fire.
More than 100 firefighters, many from the mainland, are finding a home away from home in temporary shelters known as "Humanihuts". Labor MP Leon Bignell posted photos of the huts, which are designed and built in SA, on social media, saying it was the first time they had been operationally deployed in the state. Divided into small rooms, the whole site is able to sleep up to 128 people in air-conditioned comfort.
"This is the first time it has been operationally deployed in SA and I can say the SES and SA Country Fire Service volunteers are really proud of — and delighted with — their new digs." The devastating blazes on Kangaroo Island have burned more than 19,000 hectares but there are also concerns for local wildlife. Fauna ecologist Pat Hodgens has been monitoring the Kangaroo Island dunnart, a small grey marsupial, for more than a year using cameras, and said he feared a significant number had been killed in the fire. He said the full extent of damage to wildlife was not yet known, but said he expected hundreds of native animals would have died.