National

Homes lost in NSW fires rises further

By AAP Newswire

The number of homes destroyed in bushfires which swept across northern NSW, killing an elderly couple, has topped 50.

There was some much-needed rainfall overnight in fire-affected areas, but the wet conditions mean the use of heavy machinery by crews has had to be suspended for the day.

At least 52 homes have now been confirmed destroyed in the combined Busbys Flat and Drake fires, and that number could rise as assessments continue.

Around 16mm of rain fell in some areas overnight, the RFS said.

Spokesman James Morris said while firefighters are still patrolling the areas, they may be stood down later on Saturday if rainfall continues and there is no increased fire activity.

He told AAP: "When we start to see significant rainfall we don't want to see trucks driving back and forth down some dirt tracks because those roads could become inaccessible and impassable.

"We have to consider the safety of our crews, who are doing a very important job out there."

The Busby's Flat fire, which authorities believe was deliberately lit a week ago, remains out of control, while the Drake blaze, which was started over a month ago by a lightning strike, is being controlled.

The latter fire claimed the lives of 77-year-old Bob Lindsay and Gwen Hyde, 68,

The bodies of the married couple were found in their destroyed Coongbar home on Thursday some two days after fires roared through the region.

The NSW Rural Fire Service has said there's no timeline for when it will be safe for residents to return to fire-ravaged areas as their teams continue to count the toll of the blazes.

Mr Morris said the relief from weekend rainfall may be shortlived.

"We are keeping an eye on warmer temperatures expected on Tuesday and Wednesday," he said.