Kangawalla fire: tragedy as firefighters battling Kangawalla fire near Glen Innes discover body in car

The fire east of Glen Innes, in NSW northrn Tablelands, has claimed at least two lives.

Police have begun an investigation on behalf of the Coroner after a body was found in a burnt-out vehicle on Saturday, near Wytaliba, about 50km east of Glen Innes.

Meanwhile, a woman who was found severely burned at property on Old Grafton Road, about 7pm on Friday, has died in Concord Hospital.

Seven people had been hospitalised in Glen Innes by the blaze that has destroyed much of Wytaliba, including its school.

Glen Innes Severn Council mayor Carol Sparks lost a house she had in the village, as the blaze burnt through 60 properties.

Nine residents were still unaccounted for early Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile 35 residents remain in an evacuation centre at Glen Innes Showground.

The bridge burns at Wytaliba.

The bridge burns at Wytaliba.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said police had done a forensic examination on the body found in the vehicle, including a formal identification process.

"Whatever the circumstances It's awful, it's horrific," Commissioner Fitzsimmons told Channel Seven this morning.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved, all those affected, and particularly those that have lost a loved one."

Nineteen firefighters across NSW have been injured, as well as 16 members of the community, everything from minor injuries to life threatening serious burns, he said.

More than 100 properties have been destroyed across NSW in an unprecedented 17 emergency level fires across the state.

The partner of one of Cr Sparks' grandchildren has been flown to Sydney, one of two people hospitalised with serious burns in Glen Innes. Another five were being treated at Glen Innes hospital.

Through tears, the Wytaliba resident of 30 years said she fears most of the town is gone.

"All of the community has been impacted. I might be able to get down to have a look at my house (today), what's left of it.

Glen Innes Severn Council mayor Carol Sparks lost her home in the Wytaliba fire.

Glen Innes Severn Council mayor Carol Sparks lost her home in the Wytaliba fire.

"My neighbours are in hospital, they were there when the house blew up."

The deadly Kangawalla fire was downgraded to watch and act status on Saturday morning.

RFS advise is that people in the area of Wytabliba should monitor conditions, and watch out for burning embers which may start spot fires ahead of the main fire front.

The fire has burned over 8100 hectares and is out of control.

Overnight a southerly change pushed the fire in a more northerly direction towards the Gwydir Highway.

The Gwydir highway remains closed between Bald Nob and Tindal Roads due to a number of bushfires. The New England highway has reopened, with a smoke warning and advice to drive to conditions.

Corrective Services NSW staff evacuated 164 minimum-security inmates from Glen Innes Correctional Centre to Grafton Correctional Centre early Saturday morning, due to bushfire risk to the prison.

At Wytaliba, the town bridge has been damaged, with the Wytaliba school destroyed and many houses on the west of the town burnt.

The Glen Innes Severn Mayor described herself as a victim of climate change.

"It's devastating, and it's sort of what I've been predicting that climate change is going to have this sort of effect on communities and we are devastated.

"I'd just say to the community - be strong. We just have to hang together and look after each other."

The fire was terrifyingly quick. Mayor Sparks left Wytaliba yesterday at midday. By 1pm flames were lapping at the door, driven by 80 kilometre an hour westerly winds.

"It was my nightmare that wind came in that direction in that heat.

"There's people that have lost everything, so I don't know (what we will do now)

"They've lost their money, their cars, they've lost their whole lives. They're needing clothes, they're needing accommodation, so that's what I'm focusing on today is finding temporary accommodation for people."

"Thirty years ago I came here because of climate change, because we thought that one or two degrees of warming would have a positive effect on the New England. And instead I've now found out it's a negative effect; it's dried out the trees, it's dried out the land and it's dried up the water.

"We are in a climate emergency!"

This story Two dead, nine unaccounted for as fire destroys NSW town first appeared on Glen Innes Examiner.