The fire responsible for burning through more than 15,000 hectares of bushland and destroying two houses and 10 sheds in the Southern Highlands was officially downgraded to ‘‘under control’’ on Friday afternoon.
The Hall Road fire began near the village of Balmoral on Thursday last week and at its peak required more than 350 firefighters from across the country to stop it spreading into towns such as Bargo and Wilton.
On Friday, 96 RFS personnel and 34 vehicles supported by aircraft operations were fighting the fire.
Mittagong NSW Rural Fire Service inspector David Stimson said the community needed to learn from the emergencies.
‘‘We’re asking people to take a lesson from the recent fire activity ... by preparing their house, downloading a fire plan, sitting down with their family and discussing what they will do if the fire is impacting on them,’’ he said.
Insp Stimson said volunteers were tired after more than a week responding to the emergency.
Meantime, RFS Illawarra inspector Michael Gray commended volunteers on fulfilling their objective of keeping the fire west of the escarpment.
‘‘They’ve done an exceptional job,’’ he said.
Insp Gray said volunteers were now involved in ‘‘dirty and dusty’’ work as they helped extinguished what was left of the fire.
‘‘They’re ... dragging hoses into burned areas, putting out hot spots,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s hard work and it’s dirty work.’’
About 100 RFS volunteers from the Illawarra were involved in fighting the Hall Road fire at any one time.
Insp Gray said more favourable conditions in the coming days were expected to lead to a further fire risk reduction.
However, he said residents still needed to be vigilant due to the recent emergencies having occurred so early in the traditional fire season.
Insp Gray said he wanted to thank volunteers’ employers for allowing them to take time off work to assist.
‘‘It’s been fantastic - their employers have been very flexible and that needs to be recognised,’’ he said.