THE Upper Hunter community is rallying around those who have been affected by the devastating Sir Ivan fire.
Conditions that NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons described as “catastrophic” and “unprecedented” helped fuel the blaze over the weekend.
It tore through the towns of Dunedoo, Coolah and Uarbry in the state’s central west before eventually roaring towards Cassilis.
As of midday on Wednesday, the fire has burned approximately 54,000 hectares and destroyed more than 20 homes.
During the last few days, local schools, businesses and residents have offered their support by encouraging donations and providing free food for firefighters.
One of the contributors is Scone High School, with toiletries and new socks and underwear among the items being accepted at the front office up until March 2.
Some examples of necessities include shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and soap.
There is also a call for clothing, shoes, bed linen and towels for ages ranging from Kindergarten to Year 12.
Principal Lindy Hunt said the school shared a close connection with several neighbouring students and staff who were impacted by the fire.
“Some of the Coolah and Dunedoo kids stay here during the [Upper Hunter] Beef Bonanza, so some of our kids know them and wanted to do something for them,” she said.
Scone Public School is assisting in the effort.
Numerous businesses throughout the region have also jumped on board in the past week, including Domino’s Pizza.
Franchisee David Bird said stores in Scone and Muswellbrook wanted to donate some much-needed water and pizza to the hard-working volunteers.
“The Rural Fire Service does some incredible work protecting the rest of the community and saving lives, so we wanted to help them out in a time of need by ensuring they were properly fed and hydrated,” Mr Bird said.
“These volunteers have had a big week, so help us to help them.”
Several groups have also called for donations of hay and fencing equipment to assist farmers, families and residents.