Truckie’s dash for desperate fire-stricken farmers
A dairy farmer whose 1500-acre property was slashed to just 10 acres of usable land following savage New Year's Eve fires in the state's northeast prompted Clifton Springs trucker Peter Wiffen to spring into action.
A call to his farming father got the ball rolling in gathering hay bales for farmers whose properties were ravaged by raging infernos.
Mr Wiffen's effort with the help of farmers from the Bellarine Peninsula and Moriac region, and petrol donated by Mortimer's in Drysdale culminated in 80 hay bales being dropped off to the fire-affected Corryong district on the Victorian-NSW border yesterday.
"It just snowballed after I made the first call. It's a pretty small contribution compared to what these poor buggers have been through," Mr Wiffen said.
"We were in a convoy of about 28 trucks loaded with hay that arrived today. This has been going on for the past three days. There was a fire truck in the convoy in case embers hit the hay."
Mr Wiffen who drove one of two trucks carrying the bales from the Bellarine Peninsula to Corryong across two days described the region as a "war zone."
"It is terrible, like a war zone. There's dead cattle everywhere and burnt-out cars. All that is left in some areas are concrete or brick chimneys."
Mr Wiffen, who had to leave some hay bales behind in Portarlington, hopes to make a similar trip to drop off hay bales to communities effected by bushfires in East Gippsland.