One house has been lost and a shed continues to burn despite the collaborative efforts of exhausted firefighters across the region after their night from hell.
A hot, humid and hazy Friday night brought the heat for the region's Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews as they joined forces with NSW Fire and Rescue and other emergency services to battle two separate blazes in the Gunnedah area.
Liverpool Plains Rural Fire Service district manager Paul McGrath said local crews were roused to fight an intense housefire at 10pm on Quia Road in Gunnedah, and within a mere five hours got the call to attend a shed fire in Piallaway.
The battle was then fought on those two fronts for most of the night as crews continued to fight the house fire while others tackled the burning shed.
It's one of the biggest hay shed fires we've had for a while. It was very trying and testing, applying water just to hay doesn't put it out, it just continues to smolder.Paul McGrath
Fresh troops came in to take over the shed fire on Saturday morning.
Unfortunately, the house could not be saved, with the ceiling caving in from the sheer intensity of the heat.
But while there was a car parked at the property, no-one in the house at the time.
The shed fire in Piallaway, which contained around 18,000 tonnes of barley and over 6000 bales of hay, was one of the biggest the district has seen in a while and continues to smolder.
It will continue to be monitored over the course of the next few days, and while the temperature remains hot, winds are not looking too bad, according to Mr McGrath.
He said it was a "trying time" for crews, yet was extremely thankful to the collaborative effort from across the region.
"All services between NSW RFS and Fire and Rescue did their best to contain the fire," he told ACM.
"Once again NSW RFS worked hand in hand with Fire and Rescue NSW. We were also supported by surrounding districts, Tamworth especially, and local crews were on scene."
He thanked Tamworth RFS for bringing along their CAFS unit, to use compressed air foam which was "extremely helpful" in the fight against the burning furnace.
Talking on his way to the scene on Sunday afternoon, he said it was still too dangerous for the teams to go in with machinery to start excavating, with some of the hay and barley still on fire.
"It poses a big risk to machinery and more importantly to firefighters," he explained.
"It's one of the biggest hay shed fires we've had for a while. It was very trying and testing, applying water just to hay doesn't put it out, it just continues to smolder.
"[It's] quite challenging for all services."
The cause of both fires remain under investigation.
As harvest continues on across the region, Mr McGrath said the majority of property owners out there knew what they are doing in relation to fire safety and hazard reduction.
"Our property owners are very experienced, very knowledgeable, and unfortunately these times have been very difficult with storm activities," he said.
"If things get out they can call the RFS bushfire information line, and that will assist them to make informed decision about harvesting or not harvesting, and make sure to keep an eye on local weather conditions as well."