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While visiting the Far South Coast, NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said firefighters could be battling blazes in the current emergency for a long time.
"It all depends on rainfall and until we get some decent, widespread, meaningful rainfall we're likely to be on these fires for weeks and months still to come," he said.
"Some of these fires are so large you're talking hundreds of thousands of hectares in size.
"You've got a fire perimeter of thousands of kilometres and whilst the entire thousands of kilometres are not active fires, there's still lots of hotspots, there's still smoldering areas of trees and stumps and root systems that are burning, and there's areas that are burning in very remote and difficult, rugged, to access country.
"We've still got to get through February, with the potential for more hot and dry conditions, and the official season doesn't finish until the end of March.
"We'll have to see what the season brings over the coming weeks and months to determine when the firefighting effort will be over."
The commissioner has visited the South Coast a couple of times in recent weeks and when speaking to Australian Community Media on Monday, January 20, he said the day's plan was to talk to RFS teams and listen to the challenges faced by community members in bushfire-affected areas such as Cobargo, Quaama, Bemboka, Bega and Eden.
"It is just about taking stock of the enormity of damage and destruction, but most importantly the extraordinary amount of countryside that's been saved and the amount of homes and properties that have been saved..." he said.
He said since the fires began the state had seen widespread damage and destruction, loss of life, 5.3million hectares of the Great Dividing Range burnt and active fire was still burning - including on the South Coast.
"It's still a very active and a very challenging fire situation down here on the South Coast, albeit the same level of risk and exposure has been abated because of the change in weather in the last week or so," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
He said firefighting volunteers on the Far South Coast had put in a remarkable effort to stop the recent blazes and the response and cooperation from affected communities had "simply been outstanding".
"We've still got a way to go, we don't want everyone to become complacent," he said.
"In so many ways those that have been affected, the real challenges start now with the rebuilding.
"We're all here for you, we're very appreciative of what's occurred and hopefully we'll get some widespread rain soon which can bring some relief to what's already a very drought-stricken and fire-prone landscape."