Shoalhaven NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews have once again thrown their support behind fellow comrades, with more than 65 volunteers and four staff members assisting to bring huge blazes burning in NSW's central west under control.
Bushfires have engulfed thousands of hectares of bush and farm land across the district since Saturday, taking with it a significant amount of farming infrastructure and stock.
“Shoalhaven crews have been deployed to the Sir Ivan fire within the Warrumbungle LGA,” community engagement and media officer James Morris said.
“The first of the Strike Teams have returned home with fresh crews replacing them on Tuesday. The current crews are expected to return home late Saturday afternoon.”
Mr Morris said volunteers had battled catastrophic fire conditions that were the worst seen in the central west in a very long time.
“Crews have been undertaking everything from property protection, to talking with local community members about fire safety and bush fire survival plans,” he said.
The number of homes destroyed by the bushfires has risen to 44 state-wide – Leadville, Coolah and Cassilis have been by far the worst affected, with 32 homes, one church, one community hall and 114 outbuildings destroyed in the Sir Ivan fire.
“Considering the shear devastation seen around the local communities, feedback from firefighters has been positive,” Mr Morris said.
“Crews have witnessed the loss and destruction of houses and sheds as well as large amounts of deceased livestock and animals.”
The Sir Ivan fire has been downgraded to 'Watch and Act' alert level and is under control.