Sixty-five days after summer's first bushfire to hit the Bega Valley decimated Cobargo and its surrounds, all of the region's fires have been declared extinguished.
Together the Badja Forest Road, Werri Berri, Big Jack Mountain Road, Postmans Trail and Border fires covered about 540,000ha, or 58 per cent of the Bega Valley, and destroyed 448 homes as well as cost four lives.
Late on Wednesday the Far South Coast NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) announced all of these fires were finally out and firefighting efforts in the firegrounds had been completed.
"It can be summed up by a sense of relief," Marty Webster, who was the RFS public liaison officer during the emergency and is now its community safety officer, said on Thursday.
"It didn't really feel like a celebration, it just feels like we've got through something massive.
"The commitment shown by volunteers was extraordinary.
"What they did with what they had was incredible, given what they faced.
"While any loss of life is really tragic, this event could have been a whole lot worse."
He said in terms of hectares burnt and properties damaged the 2019/20 bushfire season was the largest fire event the region had ever experienced.
But Mr Webster said there were nights when he thought the tragedy could have become even bigger, when the RFS had to issue multiple emergency alerts.
"We don't do that lightly, we do that when our backs are up against the wall and we fear people are at risk," he said.
When asked about the likelihood of an event like this happening again, he said with 58 per cent of the Bega Valley's land burnt it now had a "highly modified environment".
"So for a number of years the fuel loads in those areas will be reduced," he said.
But he said fuel loads grew back in three to four years and the RFS would need to look at how to manage that risk going forward.
While the firefighting work in the firegrounds was "done and dusted", Mr Webster said land managers may be undertaking other work in the areas.
For now, he said the RFS had received a "huge number" of membership applications and the service had a lot of work ahead to process the applications and train the new members.
Also, he said the RFS would undertake a review process of the event to look at what worked well and what could be improved regarding its response, and as part of that process would decide if there was anything the Bega Valley brigades needed.
Mr Webster also said those working in the Bega Valley fire control centre had shown amazing commitment during the emergency, and while a lot of them were "feeling pretty flat now" he thought after their debriefing process they would all bounce back.
"What's been tough this season is the number of staff and volunteers who have had property affected," he said.
"You're issuing alerts for people and you know friends and family are in the region.
"You feel like you want to call everyone individually, but you know you can't."
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