OUR SAY: Here’s the real reason we’ve escaped the worst of the fires

Catastrophic.

There’s no other word to describe the fires across the state over the past two days.

The same word was used to rate the fire danger for Orange, the Central West and a large portion of New South Wales in the lead up to the weekend’s record-breaking heatwave.

A perfect storm of sweltering temperatures, gusty conditions and already scorched country just waiting to be set alight.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said Sunday's fire conditions were "the worst in the state's history" and senior firefighters even went so far to describe the conditions as “off the conventional scale”.

Many held their breath, justifiably believing it was only a matter of time before the fire alarms sounded.

They didn’t have to wait long.

We’ve all watched on in stark horror as a pair of massive fires near Dunedoo and north or Mudgee have left a trail of devastation in their wakes, razing homes and properties to the ground.

And it’s easy to say Orange has been lucky to escape the worst of the damage.

But in reality luck has had very little to do with it.

The real and only reason for our escape from the carnage has been the skill and courage of the crews, especially those from the Canobolas Zone NSW RFS.

Had it not been for them, the small(ish) fires which ignited at Cumnock and Manildra over the past two days could easily have reached similar proportions to the other blazes currently carving a charcoaled path of destruction across the state.

Because of their quick thinking and selfless actions, both of those grass fires were quickly brought under control and the risk of damage to people and property was nullified.

Sometimes the worst circumstances brings out the best in people.

We all suffered through Saturday’s 40 degrees swelter. But imagine if someone had of forced you to throw on the thickest set of clothes you own and stand in front of a searing and open oven.

That would be unpleasant, but it barely scratches the surface of what these incredible volunteers expose themselves to for our benefit.

Their selfless determination and courage to help others on days like we’ve just seen should be commended.