Dozens of Illawarra Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers were among the firefighters who helped tackle the ferocious blazes that destroyed homes in parts of NSW at the weekend.
A strike team of five tankers and about 25 volunteers returned to the region on Monday, while another cohort was expected to head home on Wednesday.
The first team – consisting of crews from the Dunmore, Oak Flats, Albion Park, Bulli, Stanwell Park and Austinmer brigades – was initially tasked to the Singleton area in the Hunter.
From there, they were redeployed to the small village of Cassilis, near Dunedoo in the state’s central west, which was under threat.
“Our role out there was property protection, to protect the township,” Illawarra RFS group officer Craig Robertson said.
A change in weather conditions meant the fire didn’t reach Cassilis, but resources were stretched.
“Realistically, there were times there when I had people coming to me saying ‘Can you put a truck here?’, ‘Can you put a truck there?’ and we just didn't have enough trucks to try and put out all the farm areas out there,” Mr Robertson said.
“We could only do our best with what we had.”
A second strike team – made up of volunteers from the Mount Kembla, Dapto, Jamberoo, Oak Flats and Farmborough Heights brigades – was deployed to Mudgee on Sunday.