Aust at risk warns NSW mayor who lost home

At least two lives and 100 homes have been lost as bushfires ravage northern NSW.
At least two lives and 100 homes have been lost as bushfires ravage northern NSW.

A mayor who likely lost her home in a northern NSW bushfire which claimed at least two lives says her community has been "devastated" and the entire country is at risk from climate change.

Carol Sparks was among residents evacuated as the Kangawalla fire burned east of Glen Innes in the Northern Tablelands on Friday.

The Glen Innes Severn Council mayor has been told her home was likely destroyed, with neighbours saying they heard explosions coming from the property in Wytaliba.

"(But) I'm not going to believe it until I see it," she told AAP as she returned to the fire-ravaged area on Saturday morning.

Her thoughts were first and foremost with the families of those who had died and others who are missing, Ms Sparks said.

"The worst thing is that we have lost family and friends and we are all very upset."

The mayor said the small community of about 100 people is in shock with five people having suffered burns.

Some people remained as the firestorm bore down and managed to save their properties, Ms Sparks said.

"Everybody knows each other and there are people missing that we haven't able to contact. It's very worrying."

It is thought some 20 properties have been destroyed including the local primary school.

Ms Sparks has no doubt global warming is increasing the number of fires and their intensity.

"We are so impacted by drought and the lack of rain," she said.

"It's climate change, there's no doubt about it. The whole of the country is going to be affected. We need to take a serious look at our future."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday was asked whether this year's unprecedented fires were linked to climate change.

"My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families, the firefighters who are fighting the fires (and) the response effort that has to be delivered," he replied in Sydney.

Clarence Valley councillor Richie Williamson says the stories of devastation in the Northern Rivers region are "chilling".

"I was at Coutts Crossing, which is about 20 kilometres from Nymboida," he told ABC TV.

"It was the eeriest, strangest and most bizarre day that I've ever experienced.

"The sound and the roar of the fire front, and just the sheer anger that the fire front presented in almost an instant, is what's probably stuck with me the most."

NSW Police are investigating after a body was found in a burnt-out car in the Diehard area some 50 kilometres east of Glen Innes on Saturday.

Separately, a woman who was found severely burned at a Diehard property on Friday evening, has since died in a Sydney hospital.

Police deputy commissioner Gary Worboys says "a number of people remain unaccounted for in the New England area".

Australian Associated Press