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bushfire NSW

A house destroyed by bushfire is seen in Rappville, NSW, Thursday, October 10, 2019. Courtesy: AAP Image / Dan Peled.

At least 45 homes have been destroyed in bushfires which swept across northern NSW, killing an elderly couple and leaving locals devastated.

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

“We’re obviously trying to make safe everything as quick as we can with the assistance of external agencies” RFS spokesman James Morris told AAP on Friday.

As of the last count, 37 homes were destroyed in the Busbys Flat fire which ripped through Rappville and the surrounding area on Tuesday afternoon, while eight houses were razed in the Drake fire, which 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.

Mr Lindsay’s daughter-in-law, Julie Lindsay, on Friday told Ten News he was “the kindest man you could ever meet”.

The Drake fire was started over a month ago by a lightning strike while authorities believe the Busbys Flat blaze was deliberately lit a week ago. The two fires joined together on Wednesday.

Mr Morris said there had been some rain across northern NSW on Friday, “but certainly not enough to dampen the fire to a point where you would class it as contained”.

“Hopefully (Saturday) we’ll see a little bit more rain across those fire grounds – we’re hoping up to 30mm of rain widespread across those fire grounds, right across to Armidale,” he said.