Heartbreaking images from the fire-front: Towns burned down
HEARTBREAKING scenes of devastation and charred landscapes have emerged in the brutal aftermath of the fires sweeping the state.
Power poles suspended by the overhead lines, scorched and crumpled sheds and the burnt out remains of vehicles are among the images that await volunteers and returning residents.
The flames have taken a particular toll on NSW livestock, with the bodies of animals an unwelcome sight.
The region is still coming to terms with the damage and the lost livestock will be a blow to areas already comprehending the loss of homes and other structures.
Geoffrey White said his mother and father, Steven and Ruth, had lived in Uarbry since 1993.
"They've lost everything!" he told The Daily Telegraph.
"Ruth has been a valued member of the community, having been a guide leader for numerous years in Coolah and helping to restore the Uarbry hall and the list could go on.
"My father has worked hard as a truck driver in Tamworth for the last seventeen years... he has recently though injured himself at work and is required to have surgery on his shoulder next week and ankle soon after... they really are honest hard working people who have lost a lot."
Mr White added: "I'm just so grateful we didn't (lose) them yesterday too."
"I'm hoping in this instance their resilience and strength will see them through these uncertain days ahead," he said.
"Uarbry is gone. Completely burned to the ground from reports. Losses of homes, pets and all," Madeline Best said.
Former resident Masha Crilly, now living in the UK, was relieved to hear her parents had escaped before it was destroyed.
"It's awful. Loads of people have lost everything," she told the Daily Telegraph from London
Sevent-three bush and grass fires continued to burn across the state at midday, 26 of which were still uncontained this afternoon.
An emergency evacuation warning was activated yesterday for villages in the path of the Sir Ivan fire which breached containment lines at Leadville near Dunedoo.
For residents of Uarbry, Turill and Cassilis it was too late to leave, with the RFS advising them to seek shelter.
Peter Gilmour returned to his half-acre block at 9.30pm last night to assess the damage.
He said there were only three of 12 houses left in the town, as fires continued to burn around the small village.
He said he was lucky some of his property had appeared to survive but he was waiting to see how it had survived the night.
The town hall and the church was completely obliterated by the fire.
He had taken shelter in the nearby town of Dunedoo, and was waiting for the road to reopen.
"Most neighbours have lost everything," he said.
The fire is currently burning to the east of Dunedoo and moving north towards Black Stump Way, Leadville and Coolah.
Although conditions are easing, people in the areas of Leadville, Turill, Cassilis and Coolah are being urged to remain vigilant.
HOMES LOST IN WAUCHOPE
AT LEAST two houses have been lost on the mid north coast after a catastrophic fire ripped through an area west Wauchope, inland from Port Macquarie over the weekend.
The fires ripped through Pappinbarra Road at Beechwood and moved in a northerly direction.
Homes in the the areas of Hollisdale, Lower Pappinbarra and Beechwood continued to be under threat late on Sunday evening.
Although conditions eased throughout the night, the fire was still burning on Monday.
The RFS said increased humidity and decreased winds expected to give crews the upper hand as they continued to battle the blaze.
It said roads may be closed at short notice and that residents should remain vigilant and follow directions from firefighters.
Fire and Rescue Inspector Rod Chetwynd worked hard throughout the weekend to save as many homes as they could.
"Hot, dangerous and frustrating," he wrote on Facebook.
I feel for the poor people that aren't in their own beds up our way tonight. The crews worked very hard to save what we did but we couldn't get to everything," he said.
Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said 20-plus were still uncontained this morning, after blazes burnt across "a very large area" consuming everything in their path.
But cooler temperatures today, after yesterday's catastrophic conditions, will help crews gain an upper hand.
"We know there is clearly losses. Losses in homes, losses in buildings, losses in livestock and other agricultural assets," he told the Nine Network.
"The extraordinary effort of firefighters. What they saved yesterday will far outweigh the losses that we report today. I know that is cold comfort for those who have lost so much and I don't mean any disrespect or being insensitive, but we cannot take away from the amount of property, people, livelihoods that have been saved under yesterday's conditions."
"Some volunteers fighting to save other people's properties actually lost their own," Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters at RFS headquarters in Sydney when thanking all those who'd fought the blazes.
Two firefighters required hospital treatment, Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.