Locals Return To Fire-Damaged NSW Town
After a long and sleepless night, Bronwyn Beard returned to her fire-damaged hometown in the NSW Southern Highlands expecting her home would be "absolute ashes".
Firefighters had warned the Wingello acreage property wasn't defendable and when her husband left the previous night the whole front yard was alight.
"He said it went from nothing to 30-foot high flames within 10 minutes," Ms Beard told AAP on Monday.
So the couple was surprised when they reached the end of their long driveway -- "700 metres of anxious hell" -- and found on Sunday that their home had miraculously been spared.
"It was such a relief and it was just amazing," Beard said.
"Everyone here is shocked that it actually survived."
Locals on Monday believed about a dozen properties may have been destroyed in Wingello over the weekend but Ms Beard had expected worse.
"I'm amazed at what the brigade and the locals did here in the village to save as much as they did.
"It could have been so much worse. I know people in Camden Street who were up all night putting out spot fires and they saved at least five houses."
The so-called 21,000-hectare Morton fire remains out of control but it's no longer threatening property.
It's burning north of the Shoalhaven River and was formed when the huge 300,000-hectare Currowan blaze jumped the water while being driven by a strong southerly wind.