The state's worst bushfire season that saw firefighters battle 11,400 bush and grass fires that burnt more than 5.5 million hectares has now officially ended.
While there has been no major active fires in the Illawarra for two months and as Australians focus on the unfolding coronavirus pandemic, the Rural Fire Service has taken time to reflect on a deadly and devastating summer.
Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said this season had been unprecedented in terms of conditions experienced, the loss of lives and property, and the threat to communities across large parts of NSW.
"Fires this season have destroyed 2,448 homes; however, the great work of firefighters saw 14,481 homes saved," he said.
"This season there were six days where areas across NSW recorded catastrophic fire weather conditions.
"At the height of activity, there was on average around 2,500 firefighters in the field each shift with up to 4,000 on days of increased fire danger and impact.
"We saw a combined inter-agency response from NSW RFS, Fire and Rescue NSW, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forestry Corporation NSW, NSW State Emergency Service, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance and the Australian Defence Force come together with our interstate colleagues."
Commissioner Fitzsimmons said that most tragically 25 lives were lost, including those of the three NSW RFS volunteers and three US aerial firefighters.
The RFS Illawarra District had volunteers give up their time for more than 200 consecutive days, with 146 strike teams deployed and 3000 firefighters from the region tasked to different fires across the state.
"The team of volunteers did an overwhelming sensational job," district officer Patrick Grady said.
"Over the summer, the pressure was definitely on and the brigades had to manage the fatigue of volunteers, which was done well, so there was coverage day and night.
"The community support was sensational and we can't thank the volunteers, and importantly their families and employers, for giving their time and support."
Mr Grady said there was a degree of "luck" to the Illawarra not being hit with a major blaze.
"The weather was often on our side and pushed the fire around the region," he said. "The firefighters did an excellent job of containing any fires, setting up containment lines and back burning.
"We had plans in place if it did jump into region but luckily that didn't happen."
Mr Grady said this season was "unprecedented" because of the high temperatures, strong wind and dryness of the ground.
"The fire at times had a mind of its own," he said. "The fires had such ferocity that our firefighters often had to stay back and defend properties, which was an effective strategy."
Shoalhaven RFS district manager Mark Williams remembers the bushfire season as one of the worst, if not the worst, in living memory.
"The Currowan fire was a very extreme event and a long-winded campaign with 75 days of dramatic fire activity that saw the tragic loss of life and about 285 homes destroyed," he said.
"It tested all emergency services and the Currowan fire was only one in the whole state.
"It was extremely well responded to and managed by all agencies.
"The volunteers did an amazing job for no remuneration to help their local community. They deserve the respect and gratitude of the community, which they have received."
Supt Williams said controlling the blaze was truly a team effort with several agencies working together.
He said the community messaging and early warning advice was done well and largely listened to by people.
The Illawarra has had about 100 people while the Shoalhaven has had more than 250 people sign up to become new recruits.
Once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, the RFS hopes to train up new members.
Supt Williams also hopes people take the time while in self-isolation to lock in their bushfire survival plans.