NEWS

NSW Bushfire Threat Downgraded As Authorities Assess Property Loss

Fire conditions across the state have eased.

13/02/2017 7:23 AM AEDT | Updated 13/02/2017 2:20 PM AEDT

A local Rural Fire Service captain is among those who have lost their homes in NSW as the result of bushfires that have torn through large parts of the state.

Fire authorities on Monday downgraded the threat level from two major blazes in the state's central west after a horror weekend that saw almost 100 blazes burning across the state.

After what it called the "worst day we've seen in the history of NSW" on Sunday, the NSW Rural Fire Service said more than 86 fires continued to burn across the state, with 25 of those out of control.

The NSW RFS confirmed that numerous properties had been lost in the fires, including many at the small town of Uarbry. The properties lost there include the home of the local RFS captain.

No lives have been lost in the fire emergency while the extent of property damage is still largely unknown, with dozens of homes believed to have been lost.

The NSW RFS said the Sir Ivan Fire, to the east of Dunedoo, and the blaze at Kains Flat, south of Kempsey were both at Watch and Act level. It warned that locals should remain vigilant and that conditions could change rapidly.

The Sir Ivan Fire remained out of control and was tracking north towards Leadville and Coolah, having already burned through 41,650 hectares of land, the RFS advised early Monday.

"People in the areas of Leadville, Turill, Cassilis and Coolah should remain vigilant and prepared to implement their bush fire survival plan," the fire agency said on its website.

The other major blaze at Kains Flat, north east of Mudgee, also remained uncontained and was moving in an easterly direction.

The RFS said conditions in the area of that blaze eased overnight and reduced the level of fire activity, but that firefighters were still actively defending properties under threat.

NSW Fire Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said many buildings that had been destroyed over the weekend, including homes.

"There's livestock losses, there's other agricultural assets that have been destroyed as well," Fitzsimmons told ABC television.

"But the reports are, thank goodness, no serious injury or loss of life to anyone caught in the path of the fires yesterday."

He said cooler conditions would help the firefighting effort on Monday.

"That will give some advantage to the fire fighting effort to consolidate containment lines, to do back burning, to get dozers in and around and control it and those sorts of things," he said.

Fitzsimmons said there would be "days and weeks ahead" for firefighters trying to bring the fires under control before they were deemed safe.

He said it was an outstanding result that no lives were lost in the fires and confirmed that two firefighters were in hospital being treated for injuries sustained in the field.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said while the fire threat had moderated, the state wasn't "out of the woods" yet as many blazes continued to burn out of control.

She also paid tribute to those who had helped in the firefighting effort.

"We again express our deepest support and empathy to those individuals who have lost property, who have lost stock and who have lost animals because we appreciate what a distressing time it is for them," she told reporters in Sydney.

"I am so deeply relieved that to date we have had no loss of life. We have some injuries but these are not life-threatening and a huge debt of gratitude and relief to those firefighters and volunteers on the ground who have made every effort to support those communities in such despair."

One farmer, Warren Jarvis, told Fairfax Media that his house was "totally gone" when a fire came over the hill near his property near Cassilis, in the state's central west.

"My house and all my property is totally gone. Three greyhounds, other cats, all my chooks, probably my sheep and cattle," he said.


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