Picton Road will likely remain smoke-shrouded and closed over the weekend as firefighters continue containment efforts on the eastern edges of the 8100-hectare Balmoral fire.
Backburning is responsible for much of the smoke now blanketing the region after the original blaze fire jumped Picton Road in two places on Thursday night, moving towards Wilton township.
Friday was cooler, more humid, with less gusty winds, opening an important window for firefighters to respond.
Backburning efforts are being carried out around the clock before a return to warm, windier weather - conducive to erratic fire behaviour - on Sunday. At a meeting in Wilton last night, residents with homes in the shadow of an impressive plume of thick, brown smoke were told their homes were not under threat.
Inspector David Stimson, of the Southern Highlands team, said some residents had been doorknocked and told to prepare their homes against the threat of fire, but none had been evacuated.
‘‘At this stage there’s no threat to homes,’’ he said.
Fire trucks moved non-stop up and down Picton Road on Friday, stopping to snuff out spot fires as they flared and threatened to again jump over to the Wilton side of the road.
There were eerie scenes on the road, empty of traffic but for the trucks.
There were layers to the cracking and popping sounds on the roadside, some from deep back in to the bush, others from just beside the bitumen.
The land was denuded of all scrub and bush in parts most ravaged by Thursday’s blaze.
Such scenes are commonplace nearer to where the blaze began in Yanderra, Balmoral and Bargo.
RFS Bargo divisional captain Andrew Beville said the fire was more difficult to contain than others in the region’s past, because it began in a populated area.
At 2pm on Friday he estimated there were 12 holes in the containment.
‘‘We’re trying to build containment lines but as we’re in a built up area, while we’re trying to do that our resources are getting used for property protection,’’ he said.
Property losses include an abandoned home on William Street at Balmoral, about 12 sheds and about 10 cars, five of them belonging to classic car collector Andrew Mowdon, of Yanderra.
Mr Mowdon, his foster daughter and her son were evacuated only minutes before the fire went through his front yard and around the side of his home.
The family spent the night in alternative accommodation and returned to see the house saved - but only just.
The fire had caused one of the house windows to explode and morphed some of the outer edges. It destroyed Mr Mowdon tractor, shed and caravan, which was filled with miniature collector cars and other personal belongings.
The burnt-out shells of his cars were unrecognisable.
The mag wheels from a 1971 Mini had melted into silver pools on the grass.
Other shells showed what had once been a Camero Firebird and - his favourite - a Eureka.
Asked if he would continue collecting in the wake of the losses, Mr Mowdon was on Friday unsure.
‘‘I just want to get my house back to normal,’’ he said.