It will take about three weeks to get the Dunns Road fire under control, depending on the weather.
RFS zone commander Roger Orr said firefighters were hoping to use favourable conditions in the next few days to consolidate and strengthen containment lines, after the horrific conditions of yesterday.
The Dunns Road Fire has destroyed roughly 40 homes and buildings at last count, including about 20 in Batlow, and 30,000 hectares of pine plantation.
Mr Orr said many more homes could have been lost. Yesterday produced fire activity he’d not seen before.
“Not even close,” he said.
Temperatures in the mid-40s and beyond combined with strong north-westerlies resulted in the fire going on numerous easterly and southerly runs, from Ellerslie, Wondalga, Batlow and further south yesterday afternoon.
The fire entered the towns of Talbingo and Batlow, while also blackening rural country to the north-west of Adelong, and across Wondalga, west Gilmore and more.
Temperatures and winds eased today and a small amount of rain fell.
“We have a few, I wouldn’t say easy days, with winds from the east, but we’re going to use that time to consolidate and strengthen our control lines,” he said. “We’re not expecting those (yesterday’s) conditions again, but we have some more challenging days towards the end of the week.
“We have a longer term plan, we’re hoping in the next three to weeks to have some kind of containment on it. That remains with the weather gods.”
About 400 firefighters are now on the ground.
The Superintendent said fire-fighters had done a terrific job yesterday in limiting losses.
“The expectation was we’d lose many more than what we have,” he said.
“How amazing are they. Volunteers, paid, even locals, trying to limit the damage to those communities. It’s just heroic, humbling.”
The fire has grown to more than 250,000 hectares.