Nambucca Shire residents asking why the bush wasn't better managed

SCARED AND ANGRY: Cheryl Jory-Randell and Mal Cooper had to leave their homes in Allgomera
SCARED AND ANGRY: Cheryl Jory-Randell and Mal Cooper had to leave their homes in Allgomera

There's a cacophony of noise out at the Macksville Showground, a lot of it comes from dogs, farm dogs, not used to being in such close quarters with so many other dogs and people.

Horses can be heard whinnying in the background, as well as the crows of poultry, safely caged in the poultry pavilion.

Also here are the owners of these animals, forced from their homes by the fires, many not knowing if there is anything to return to, others waiting until it is safe to go and have a look.

Emotions are palpable - fear, anxiety, stress, relief at times, and lots of anger.

Cheryl Jory-Randell from Allgomera, has been at the showground for two nights, listening to stories.

On Wednesday she penned a passionate letter to those in power on behalf of everyone around her ...

"Shame on you ... it's disgusting you have let this happen ... we need proper land management and proper resources ... why do you drop the water after the fires have got away? That should happen first, then the firefighters can clean up.

"People should be legally made to maintain their land ... and State Forests and National Parks must have cleared roads for access - this could save lives!

"We cannot control the climate or droughts but we can manage it better - you, the government line your pockets with good honest money from the taxpayer, do your bloody jobs and support people.

"Listen to the Aboriginal people - they knew and know how to manage the bush, it needs regular controlled burning ... let's work together for a safer future - for all Australians.

"And finally, to you firefighters, bless you for the help - without you, we would be worse off."

On Thursday she got the good news that her house was still standing but it is taking a while to digest.

"We'd been preparing and hosing and watching and snatching sleep since Friday - we could hear trees falling in the bush beyond, it was terrifying ... I came here, like so many others, to save my animals," she said.

"Everyone here has been amazing - last night the Salvos cooked a big baked dinner for everyone, there must be about 100 people here - it was the first hot meal I'd had since Thursday."

Her friend Mal Cooper agreed that proper fire trail upkeep was a major issue as was the lack of serious hazard reduction.

"There has simply not been enough burning off done in the forests. The drought has exacerbated it but this has been a disaster in the making for years and now its here - we have to make sure we learn and don't let it happen again," Mal said.

Jan Roberton is camped in the main pavilion - she evacuated from Taylors Arm with her daughter, three horses and two dogs - her husband and son have stayed behind to defend the family home.

ANGELS OF MERCY: Riley and Amanda Pethybridge, Lee Bond and Fiona Nielsen

ANGELS OF MERCY: Riley and Amanda Pethybridge, Lee Bond and Fiona Nielsen

"The fire is at our doorstep, across Butts Creek Rd, it's not safe to go back - it is a relief to be here because I know the animals are safe, that helps me manage my stress levels. They are pretty scared, they've never left the farm before.

"The town community are absolute angels - rehousing people, feeding people, if you sneeze there's a tissue - we've felt overwhelmed by the support."

She said the cancellation of Macksville High School's Year 12 formal, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, added another layer of drama.

"All the girls had dresses and shoes that needed to be stored somewhere safe - but where? And hair and makeup had all been organised ... of course friends have stepped in to help."

The Guardian News understands the formal will now be held on Wednesday. December 4.

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