A man has died while helping to defend a mate’s house from bushfires in Batlow overnight, as “hundreds” of homes are feared lost.
The man, 47, was fighting fires in the apple-growing town of Batlow when he went to a nearby ute to get some water about 6.30pm on Saturday night.
Police said the man’s friend went to look for him when he didn’t return and found him unconscious in the vehicle.
The friend got into the ute to drive for help and found police a short distance away and officers stopped to assist but despite their efforts, he died at the scene.
A report is being prepared for the coroner but it is believed he suffered cardiac arrest.
This comes as four firefighters were injured.
Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said they were receiving reports of “significant damage and destruction” on Saturday night after more than a dozen blazes reached an emergency warning alert level throughout the day, with the loss of property reaching the “hundreds”.
RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said properties had been reported lost or impacted in the Batlow area south of Tumut, North Nowra and Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands.
“Hopefully in a couple of hours conditions will start to ease but I’ve got to say there is so much fire out there that I don’t think the danger is going to pass for some time,” he said.
“We have no chance of getting containment on these fires anytime soon.”