Northern NSW fires destroyed 64 homes

Sixty-four homes were destroyed in fires that swept through northern NSW last week, the RFS says.
Sixty-four homes were destroyed in fires that swept through northern NSW last week, the RFS says.

Firefighters have confirmed 64 homes were razed in bushfires that swept through northern NSW last week, with more than 150 outbuildings also destroyed.

The Busbys Flat and Drake fires are still burning and are currently at advice level, one week after blazes swept through the area south of Casino.

The NSW Rural Fire Service on Wednesday said it had completed most inspections of fire-affected areas and confirmed 64 homes were lost.

The RFS said 44 homes were destroyed by the Busbys Flat blaze and 19 in the Drake fire, which claimed the lives of Bob Lindsay, 77, and his wife Gwen Hyde, 68.

Another home was lost at the Purgatory Creek fire at Jackadgery, west of Grafton.

In addition, 153 outbuildings and seven other facilities were destroyed.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said there had been more than 5000 bush and grass fires across NSW this season, with a million hectares of land burnt out.

"It's important to remember that this is no ordinary bushfire season and we can't afford to have anyone think this is just another year," Mr Fitzsimmons said in a statement.

"The crippling effects of the drought, unseasonably warm weather and strong winds have seen fires develop quickly and impacted on lives, farms, businesses, homes and communities."

A total fire ban has been declared for the NSW far north coast, north coast, Greater Hunter, New England, Northern Slopes and north western regions on Thursday due to forecast hot and windy conditions.

The RFS has advised residents that actively defended and well-prepared homes can provide safety during a fire.

It also advised residents to follow their bush survival plan and stay informed by following news updates or monitoring its website.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a maximum of 33C in Bellingen on Thursday, with 31 in Ballina and Moree Plains, 30 in Gunnedah, 29 in Cessnock and 28 in Tenterfield.

Australian Associated Press