Alvie beef and dairy farmer Peter Holland will never forget “the bit of luck” that saved his family home and cattle from a fire at South Dreeite.
Peter, who owns 190 dairy cows and 70 head of angus cattle, was inside having lunch when his neighbour alerted him to the fire roaring towards his property earlier this year, and within 10 minutes the fire was on his doorstep.
The fire broke out after 2pm on January 18 and 39 tankers and firefghting aircraft fought the 426-hecatre blaze for eight hours before it was under control.
The fire destroyed about two-thirds of the Hollands’ farm and came within metres of the house, but Peter said the farm was back to normal almost ten months later.
“We’ve sown all the pastures and when you look now you wouldn’t know that a fire had gone through there really,” he said.
“In January she was just black everywhere.
“It’s recovered, we’ve taken a bit of a whack financially but you just move on because we saved our house by a miracle and we saved the herd.
“If you don’t have insurance there goes $350,000 to $400,000, so we were just lucky we were able to save them.
“They were the main two things so whatever went wrong we were very appreciative that it could have been so much worse.”
Peter was stranded on the day of the fire after he tried to call 000 several times, but CFA crews couldn’t come to his aid, leaving him to rely on water-bombing helicopters.
“They couldn’t get the fire trucks up to our house because the plantation of trees and the silage heap at the road and the neighbour’s property had ignited and they couldn’t see their hand in front of them,” he said.
See today’s Colac Herald for more.