Fifteen NSW properties lost to bushfire
Firefighters hope easing weather conditions will allow them to contain a bushfire in southern NSW that may have destroyed more than a dozen homes.
The blaze has swept through 2900 hectares of mainly grazing country in a sparsely-populated area 10 kilometres east of Queanbeyan.
The Rural Fire Service has been unable to confirm the reported loss of 15 homes, but are aware of structural and livestock losses.
Carwoola woman Sue Tully fears she has lost her home of 35 years after fleeing the property and leaving pigs, chickens and pet kangaroos behind.
"I knew we would lose the house or have it damaged as I got in the car and left," Mrs Tully said.
She joined other locals at an evacuation centre in Queanbeyan and said she'd stay the night with friends in Canberra after being told she can't return to check the property until Saturday.
After fighting the fire during the day with the support of helicopters, Hercules aircraft and water tankers, firefighters were confident of containing the blaze overnight as temperatures cool and the wind drops.
The fire was downgraded to a watch and act early Friday evening after early concerns for areas around Rossi and Forbes Creek where residents had been told to seek shelter because it was too late to leave.
Police have established roadblocks in the area and affected residents are being accommodated at evacuation centres in nearby Queanbeyan and Bungendore.
RFS spokesman James Morris said falling temperatures and easing winds were helping firefighters contain the blaze, while more favourable weather conditions are expected on Saturday.
"Crews are doing very well at this stage in pulling up and slowing the fire front," Mr Morris told AAP.
"There are unconfirmed losses (of structures and livestock) on the fire ground."
RFS building impact analysis teams will be sent into the area over the next couple of days to determine losses.
A firefighter aged in his 40s has suffered pelvic injuries and burns in Carwoola and was in hospital in Canberra in a stable condition.
Meanwhile, an emergency warning for the Mandurama region, in the state's central west, was downgraded as crews gained the upper hand.
"With conditions easing, firefighters are now slowing the spread of the fire," the RFS said.
Total fire bans are in place for five NSW regions in the central west and southern parts of the state.
On Friday night there were still 87 fires burning with 66 uncontained.
Authorities are pleased, however, that they've made some progress on two devastating fires: the Sir Ivan blaze near Dunedoo and the Kains Flat blaze northeast of Mudgee.
The RFS is still counting the cost of last weekend's "catastrophic" fire conditions that resulted in at least 44 homes being razed, RFS spokesman Paul Best said.
Assessment teams continue to work in the Warrumbungle region after the Sir Ivan fire blackened 54,000 hectares destroying 34 homes, a church, a community hall and 120 outbuildings.
The Bureau of Meteorology declared a severe fire danger in the NSW Lower Central West Plains area, with high temperatures, low humidity and winds of up to 50km/h.
Other regions with total fire bans in effect are: the Central Ranges; Southern Slopes; Southern Ranges and Monaro Alpine.
© AAP 2017
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