SOME rain has finally fallen at Belinda Haynes's fire-ravaged cattle station in outback Queensland.The cattle she didn't lose in the fires late last year now have some grass to feed on and that's sweet relief indeed.
Ms Haynes spent a staggering $520,000 trucking in feed for her herd over 13 weeks after the fires destroyed every blade of grass on her 100,000ha Kutchera Station, northwest of Georgetown in Queensland's north.
The deaths of 500 cows and 200 calves in the fire disaster have added another $250,000 to the bill.
As for equipment and infrastructure - including kilometres of fencing - she has no idea what that will cost to repair or replace.
Given that damage is not covered by insurance, she's having to make some difficult decisions about what to fix, and what to give up on for now.
The fires that ravaged Kutchera Station from mid-October also destroyed grazing land on sprawling neighbouring properties, and many farmers are in the same situation.
"Everyone has had a little bit of rain, but it's burning off so quickly now and we haven't had any since," she said.
"We've had six inches but should have had about 15 by now. Everyone is wondering where the hell our wet season is, and whether we're going to get one.
"If we don't it's going to be a horrible, horrible year. And even if we do, it's going to be too late."
Ms Haynes and other fire-hit farmers are looking at a very long road to recovery.
"It'll take about 10 years to even look like getting the herd back to what it was," she says.
But she says support has been flowing from Rotary groups, the volunteer organisation Aussie Helpers, governments, and from a bushfire disaster appeal being run by Bendigo Bank.
She says she watched with an overwhelming sense of empathy in recent weeks as farmers in other parts of the state were hit by devastating floods.
"We live in a land of such extremes, going from one thing to the next. It's a very very tough environment," she says.
Donations to the Bendigo Bank fire appeal can be made at any branch, or online at http://shop.bendigobank.com.au/public/foundation/