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NSW bushfires under control but crisis not ov -

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ANNABEL CRABB, PRESENTER: The emergency services and thousands of firefighters and residents are tonight heaving an enormous sigh of relief after a fire disaster threatening the Blue Mountains was averted.

Massive back-burning and days of containment operations have kept dozens of fires under control and prevented further loss of life or homes.

But the danger's not over yet, with 73 fires still burning, including 29 that are still out of control.

And in a major new development tonight, it's been confirmed that the biggest fire of the past week was caused by explosive devices being set off on a Defence Department firing range near Lithgow. That fire has been burning for more than a week and destroyed 47,000 hectares.

We'll have more on that shortly, but first, our reporter Matt Peacock has been on the fire front for much of the past week. He began this report with firefighters on back-burning operations last night.

HUGH PATERSON, DEPUTY CAPTAIN, VALLEY HEIGHTS RFS: What we're doing by burning out fuel between the houses and the main fire, we're trying to contain the main fire so it can't escape.

MATT PEACOCK, REPORTER: For this fire crew at Valley Heights, near Springwood, it was a long night. With fire rakes and hoses, they're blacking out, painstakingly putting out every trace of fire from the day's backburn around the houses along the escarpment.

HUGH PATERSON: Just behind me here is unburnt fuel. So if I leave a little spot of ember here next to unburnt fuel, that blows anywhere into that unburnt fuel tomorrow. As the air dries out, then it'll ignite that unburnt fuel and that will start to put up flames and that will start to put up burning embers and those embers could land anywhere in those swirling winds and then the fire would escape from containment. It's the hard work, it's the arduous and dirty work, but this is the key to putting the fire out. We're actually trying to put the fire out.

MATT PEACOCK: Hugh Paterson's day job is to clear weeds from the national park he loved.

HUGH PATERSON: If we can get this fire contained now, it'll save us an awful lot of trouble and a lot of grief tomorrow. We have a saying that these big fires, we just throw money at the fire until it rains.

MATT PEACOCK: Later in the night, heavier rain did come, but it was still not enough. What morning brought, though, was the wind.

The wind was already gusting at more than 40 kilometres an hour.

SHANE FITZSIMMONS, RURAL FIRE SERVICE COMMISSIONER (9 am): It would appear at this early stage that the weather forecast is on track for hot, dry, windy conditions throughout today which reinforces the need to remain vigilant.

BARRY O'FARRELL, NSW PREMIER (9 am): If you haven't made plans, if you haven't prepared yourself, those people who live in the Blue Mountains, now is the time to leave.

MATT PEACOCK: And many families like Blackheath's Todd Berryman's had heeded the warnings, packing their valuables and pets.

TODD BERRYMAN: It's been a bit stressful the last few days, so it'll be good to get to town for a couple of days and, yeah, watch it from a distance for a change.

MATT PEACOCK: Further east on the Bells Line of Road, this fire crew from the ACT was preparing for the worst.

?: We're just going to stay here and fight and if we can't control it, we'll go. It's - yeah, it's simple as that. But I've got mum and my wife, Rachel, and Liam, my young bloke - they're all going now or they're supposed to be going, and we'll just stay here and see what we can do.

ALISON WINTER: Well, we've packed all our important documents, photo albums, jewellery, clothes. Just with the hoses on the house - I don't know if it'll help, but that's all we can do.

MATT PEACOCK: Back in the Lower Blue Mountains at Faulconbridge late this afternoon, another emergency flared as flames threatened houses near last night's blackout. Along Chapman Street, firefighters were stationed in every backyard to defend the houses while helicopters swarmed overhead.

ALAN ROSS: I've never seen this many helicopters in my life before. It's brilliant, actually, that they're all here.

MATT PEACOCK: Alan Ross only moved here three months ago.

ALAN ROSS: Yeah, well, it was a bit nerve-racking to start with early this morning when the winds started to get up and then all these guys arrived and it was not an issue after that.

STEVE PRICE, VALLEY HEIGHTS RFS: We've got lot of air attack on the fire currently which is currently working, slowing the fire down before it reaches the backs of properties. So, I'm having a lot of success today.

MATT PEACOCK: Valley Heights captain Steve Price seems confident the line will hold. He'll be back here again tomorrow.

STEVE PRICE: The fuel's still very dry. We still need to be - we still got lot of work ahead of us and we've got some more warm, windy days ahead no doubt, so we've got a lot of work to do to get our containment lines in and get the fire wrapped up before those windy conditions return.