The skies are clear and the roads almost completely deserted at Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains.
At least 80 firefighters, both local and interstate, are waiting to see whether hot, dry winds will fan a nearby fire down towards the Grose Valley.
After days of back-burning, four Blue Mountains crews have now left and returned to their local brigades.
“If this fire gets out and makes a run, they’re not going to have much time to get there to do any property protection,” Blue Mountains central group officer Greg Frullani said.
Fortunately a crew from the ACT has arrived in Mount Victoria to lend a hand.
Mr Frullani says the support from interstate crews is much appreciated.
“It’s a family. We go and help them, they go and help us,” he said.
“I was in the first group that went down to Victoria.”
While the weather is difficult to predict, previous fires here have burned in similar ways.
“There’s a known fire path down the Grose (Valley),” Mr Frullani said.
“It jumps out at Lawson, it jumps out at Woodford and it jumps out at the fruit shop at Faulconbridge.”
Fire could pose threat to couple’s home
Betty and Warwick Reynolds’s 13-acre property at Faulconbridge is closer to the Linksview Road fire, although the fire at Mount Victoria could pose a threat as well.
They have lived there for 13 years and used to run the Mountain Jewel Bed and Breakfast.
Now the couple tend to their garden and enjoy their retirement.
There are still signs of a bushfire that swept through the area in 1994 – many gums trees on the property remain blackened after that fire event.
The last time their home came under threat from a bushfire was about seven years ago. A late wind change saved the house.
“They did a hazard reduction burn four years ago,” Mr Reynolds said.
“The RFS worked for ages beforehand. There was about 13 kilometres of track they cleared.”
Call to charge parents of child arsonists
This time, the couple believes the greatest threat would be if someone “comes into our valley with matches”.
They say Australia law treats arsonist too leniently.
“I would charge the parents,” Mrs Reynolds said, in reference to any children who are found to have lit bushfires.
Betty and Warwick, who are 73 and 80 respectively, know that if fire does come close to their home, they will not be able to take many possessions with them.
“Insurance will never replace the things in your house,” Mrs Reynolds said.
They say they will be happy if they can get away in Warwick’s 1964 Mercedes with several boxes of family photos and their border collie Max.