The ABC has confirmed that Vivian Chaplain, 69, is one of the two people to have died in NSW's bushfire emergency.

The NSW Rural Fire Service says one other person is confirmed dead.
Five more remain unaccounted for.

A relative of Ms Chaplain said she died while trying to protect her home at Wytaliba, north-west of Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast.

Her daughter-in-law, Chrystal Harwood, said the 69-year-old would be "greatly missed" by her two children and six grandchildren.

"She was a strong woman who died protecting the home and animals she loved," she said.

"The loss of her has devastated our family, there was nothing we could do.
"She was stuck and we couldn't get to her."

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Inset: Firefighters driving through the Wytaliba fire, which claimed the life of Vivian Chaplain. Photo: Reddestone RFB

It is understood Ms Chaplain died in hospital on Saturday morning after being found with severe burns.

The 69-year-old's death comes on a dark day for NSW, with authorities confirming more than 150 homes have been destroyed by the fires that raged across the state.

Five fires remain at emergency warning level in NSW — at the height of the chaos yesterday, 17 blazes were given that status.
I just can't explain how bad it was

For Douglas Wood, leaving his home was never an option. As yesterday's ferocious fire approached his Bora Ridge property, the former Blue Mountains RFS group captain prepared himself to fight.

The 54-year-old managed to save his neighbour's property — and his mum and dad's house next door.

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Inset: A hill crowned with fire lends the night a hellish glow on the NSW Central Coast. Photo ABC

But as all this happened, he watched his own home go up in flames.

"We just did our best," he said. "I just can't explain how bad it was.

"I was just so intense. It was unbelievable.

"I have seen plenty of fires, and this is the worst I have seen in my life."

The Bora Ridge fire, south-west of Lismore — which is now at a watch and act status — burnt through 794 hectares and destroyed multiple properties.

The RFS said yesterday many fires moved so quickly they were unable get to all those who called for help.

Mr Wood was one of them.

"We were on our own, [no] helicopters or anything," he said. "We saved Mum and Dad's place so at least we have somewhere to stay."

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Inset: Douglas Wood (r), pictured here with his son Jack, watched his home burn down. ABC/Bruce MacKenzie

Mr Wood said he was now left with nothing more than the clothes on his back, and his car.

He said he was concerned they would not survive, but their bushfire plan saved them.

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Inset: Douglas Wood's home was reduced to ash and memories. Photo: ABC

He had 8,000 litres reserved for firefighting purposes and two firefighting pumps, plus another 1,000 litres and a pump on a trailer.

The plan, depending on where the fire came from, was to protect the houses and fall back as need be.

He never considered leaving."I'd die trying," he said.

"You could never walk away because you would spend the rest of your life saying, what if I stayed, what if I did this?"
Hell on Earth

For Peter Simpson in Nymboida, south-west of Grafton, the circumstances were similar, but the result was different.

Mr Simpson stayed behind to battle the blaze, and the intensity of fire singed his hair. His shed was destroyed, but he managed to save his home under conditions he described as "hell on Earth".

"The fire was right here above me, bearing down on me." he said. "It was [like] the Apocalypse."

He said every second house on his this road was destroyed.

"Most of Nymboida will be displaced," he said. "The village is gone.

"I'm just glad that I'm safe and like I said, I'm really sorry for every person in this whole area that's lost out.

"My heart bleeds for them."

-ABC