The few who stayed behind in Towamba to fight spot flames and stop embers from setting their homes alight gathered on Saturday in the village hall, where supplies had been prepared and someone's vintage 1932 Chevrolet parked for safety.
The monster fires that have caused extensive damage across Australia, scorching through more than 10.3 million hectares of land, killing several people and destroying thousands
With the Australian bush burning for nearly three months now, killing 28 people, claiming 2,000 homes and raging across millions of acres of land and wildlife, the crisis is becoming increasingly political.
Catastrophic bushfires have turned swathes of land into smouldering, blackened hellscapes and destroyed an area about the size of the island of Ireland, according to official figures, with authorities warning the disaster still has weeks or months to run.
In fire-encircled seaside communities along a 200-kilometre (135-mile) strip of coast, terrified people -- wrapped in blankets and make-shift facemasks -- sought refuge near the water.
The wildfires were more destructive. The drought was the longest on record. And the storms, when they finally came, unleashed more water than our dams could contain.
Violent hailstorms and damaging winds hit parts of New South Wales state including bushfire-affected coastal towns on Monday, but hot and windy conditions are forecast to return to many parts of NSW later in the week.
The Briton, who has adopted a vegan lifestyle and become outspoken on the environment, posted a clip on social media of a scorched koala being tended to against a backdrop of smoke and flames.
The National Forestry Commission of the Agriculture Ministry said on Twitter that at least 100 hectares (250 acres) were burned by afternoon and people had been evacuated from the area.