Homes lost in NSW bushfires rises to 45

It's now confirmed up to 45 homes were destroyed in the NSW bushfire that claimed two lives.
It's now confirmed up to 45 homes were destroyed in the NSW bushfire that claimed two lives.

The number of homes confirmed lost in bushfires which swept across northern NSW, killing an elderly couple, has increased to 45.

The NSW Rural Fire Service says 37 homes were destroyed in the Busbys Flat fire which ripped through Rappville and the surrounding area on Tuesday afternoon, while eight houses were razed in the Drake fire, which claimed the lives of 77-year-old Bob Lindsey and Gwen Hyde, 68.

Residents who had to flee are now craving normality as they anxiously wait for the area to be deemed safe enough for them to return home.

The bodies of Mr Lindsey and Ms Hyde were found in their destroyed Coongbar home on Thursday some two days after fires roared through the region.

The Drake fire was started over a month ago by a lightning strike while authorities believe the Busbys Flat blaze was deliberately lit a week ago. The two fires joined together on Wednesday.

Naomi Elwell's Rappville home was damaged and her mother's house nearby was destroyed.

"People are obviously devastated," she told AAP on Friday.

"But people are thankful they have their lives and they have their properties."

The mother-of-one is staying with friends while she awaits the all-clear to return to her smoke-damaged home.

Assessors will have to examine gas fittings, pipes, the roof and the water tank for damage or contamination.

Tensions are "fairly high" among residents of the close-knit town which has a population of just 169 people, Ms Elwell said.

"People are quite anxious - they just want to go back to their homes, they want normality."

Asked when she may be able to return home, the 34-year-old said: "How long's a piece of string? I think it'll still be some time."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday said she was shocked and horrified to hear about the fatalities and warned the deadly blaze "gives us a taste of what's ahead" this summer.

During the bushfire season to date, 89 homes have been destroyed across NSW, the RFS says.

Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney the two deaths in Coongbar showed "just how ferocious these fires are but also how unpredictable they are".

Fire crews from South Australia and Victoria, and personnel from the Northern Territory, have been drafted in to help tackle the blazes.

The Drake fire is being controlled while the Busbys Flat blaze remains out of control.

Mr Lindsey and Ms Hyde, who were well-known in the small Coongbar community 40 kilometres southwest of Casino, reportedly met late in life and married three years ago.

NSW Police say the circumstances of their deaths will be "subject to an extensive investigation".

Some 87 outbuildings and five facilities including a community hall were destroyed this week, according to the most recent RFS count.

Thirty bush and grass fires are still burning across the state with nine uncontained.

Crews said they would be taking advantage of favourable weather on Friday with rain expected across the impacted areas over the next 24 hours.

Parts of northern NSW look likely to get some decent rainfall, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Forecaster Gabrielle Woodhouse said: "Much higher humidity levels, some light winds and the rainfall all combine to mean that the fire dangers in that area is very low at the moment which is a welcome relief from what we have been seeing."

Australian Associated Press