THE small rural community of Uarbry in the NSW Central West has been all but wiped out after a massive out of control bushfire that tore through it yesterday.

"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

Fire expert teams are heading to the region to assess the sheer scale of loss from the weekend's blazes, as more than 80 bushfires continue to burn across the state.

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.

Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said 25 fires were still uncontained this morning, after blazes burnt across "a very large area" consuming everything in their path.

But cooler temperatures on Monday, after Sunday'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."

“It’s awful. Loads of people have lost everything”. Picture: Peter Gilmour via Facebook
“It’s awful. Loads of people have lost everything”. Picture: Peter Gilmour via Facebook

Two fires remain at watch-and-act levels near the towns of Dunedoo and near Mudgee with RFS crews focusing on these areas on Monday.

The Sir Ivan fire, near Dunedoo, has burned through almost 50,000 hectares with an active fire edge of about 200km, Mr Fitzsimmons said.

The Kains Flat fire northeast of Mudgee has burnt through 5000 hectares. Mr Fitzsimmons said critical backburning and patrol work will be undertaken in the coming days.

"Clearly, the weather is going to be of some benefit but there is a lot of very dirty, difficult and dangerous work ahead for firefighters before we can come close to getting these fires under control."


Perfect firestorm: NSW burns as hero firies tackle blazes

FIREFIGHTERS have spent the night battling to contain a spate of bushfires that raged across the state, destroying several properties and forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes.

But despite the damage, fire officials say it could have been much worse.

Despite scorching 40C heat and terrifyingly strong winds, NSW managed to survive what firefighters described as the worst bushfire conditions on ­record relatively unscathed.

Without their tireless work containing up to 87 separate blazes across the state yesterday, the "catastrophic" conditions could have resulted in the loss of countless lives.

"This is the worst day we've seen in the history of NSW," Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said. "But our firefighters and our communities are responding very well."

A wall of smoke can be seen in the background between Merriwa and Cassilis in the central west.
A wall of smoke can be seen in the background between Merriwa and Cassilis in the central west. Jeremy Piper, News Corp Australia

This morning the RFS was steal battling 83 blazes across NSW, 23 of which are out of control,

There are currently no emergency warnings left in place with Watch and Act alerts active for the blazes near Dunedoo and Kains Flat.

The fire near Dunedoo has burned nearly 50,000 hectares and is still out of control.

It is currently burning to the east of the town moving in a northerly direction towards Black Stump Way, Leadville and Coolah.

The Golden Highway remains closed between Dunedoo, Merriwa, Denham and the Hunter Expressway at Singleton. Other local roads may be closed at short notice.

Evacuation Centres have been opened at Merriwa RSL, Merriwa and Club Mudgee, Mudgee.

"Near Dunedoo a number of homes were lost or damaged and a number of outbuildings have been damaged or destroyed," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

Assessment teams will inspect affected areas today to learn how many properties have been damaged.

At Kains Flat, north of Mudgee, firefighters are defending properties under threat from an out of control fire.

While conditions in the area have eased throughout the evening, residents are urged to remain vigilant.

The view from the RFS plane of the Sir Ivan Fire, in the NSW Central West, which breached containment lines.

Sickeningly, despite yesterday's horrendous danger, three suspected firebugs were arrested over the weekend, accused of deliberately starting fires in Orange, Mangrove Mountain on the Central Coast and Nabiac on the north coast.

A 13-year-old boy was ­arrested over a fire in an industrial part of Orange on Saturday. A 40-year-old man was detained at the scene of the Central Coast fire early yesterday morning. And last night a 32-year-old man was be taken to Forster Police Station over the Nabiac blaze.

"It beggars beliefs that on a very hot day yesterday somebody would light a fire," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

Despite the unprecedented dangers, there was no loss of life, no significant injuries to firefighters and limited property damage.

One member of the public was flown to hospital in Lismore late yesterday after being burned by a fire along Binalong Rd, Boggabri, in the state's northwest, between Narrabri and Gunnedah.

But it could have been so much worse. There were 2500 firefighters deployed across the state, some Fire And Rescue, but most volunteers ready to put their lives on the line for their community.

Also ready to leap into action were more than 50 aircraft, including helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, among them water bombers borrowed from Victoria.

By last night, despite the cool change, 32 fires were still uncontained, including a vast blaze near the central western town of Dunedoo, covering a staggering 11,000ha.

"Near Dunedoo a number of homes were lost or damaged and a number of outbuildings have been damaged or destroyed," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

Up on the mid-north coast, communities in the Port Macquarie area were battling a fire along Pappinbarra Rd, which quickly grew to more than 20ha in size, taking some farm buildings with it.

There were concerns that last night's southerly change could cause several other fires to break their containment lines. "Southerly changes present significant dangers and challenges to fire-affected areas," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

News Corp Australia

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