Residents of a retirement village south-west of Sydney have been forced to watch as flames from a fast-moving grass fire closed in on them.
The out-of-control fire at Menangle, near Campbelltown, was whipped up by a stiff northerly wind and driven in the direction of several homes.
RFS volunteers battled as flames circled the buildings.
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The fire started on the edge of the Baptist retirement village, which was saved as the wind pushed south.
Locals chipped in with shovels and buckets on Menangle Road, before the professionals moved in.
Some said there was panic as the flames approached.
“I had my wife panicking, she could see the flames,” Greg Stuart said.
Shane and Annette Morgan’s property was saved after they prepared to tackle flames with buckets of water.
“We were just lucky that the RFS was here to help us,” Annette said.
Water-bombing helicopters took over when flames jumped roads into hard-to-access farmland.
A large construction site for the Appin underground mine was saved.
The blaze stopped train services between Campbelltown and Moss Vale.
A total of 60 hectares were burnt before 20 fire trucks brought it under control.
A spark from a passing train is believed to have started the fire.
Captain Leo Fransen was part of a strike team deployed to fight the Hudson fire near Walgett, about 100 kilometres south of the Queensland border and 500 kilometres west of Coffs Harbour.