NO lives were lost in the Coonabarabran NSW fires because emergency workers fought so hard.
That's according to NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell who addressed a community barbecue to thank 300 firefighters and volunteers.
The January fires razed the surrounds of Coonabarabran in northern NSW, destroying 50,000 hectares of land, 53 homes and 120 buildings.
After a tour of the scorched fields and hills surrounding the town, Mr O'Farrell said on Saturday it was "extraordinary to see how cruel and random fire is, taking certain homes and not others".
"What's remarkable is ... no lives were lost," he told reporters in Coonabarabran on Saturday.
"It's a tribute to the volunteers."
Mr O'Farrell said it was important to thank emergency service workers, particularly the volunteers.
"As much as we value the paid emergency services, we couldn't do the job that's required, that was necessary at Coonabarabran, without the support of volunteers."
"We couldn't enjoy the lifestyles we do without their ongoing commitment."
Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzgibbons said education programs, hazard reduction schemes and community teamwork were the "first and foremost" reasons why no one died.
The local mayor, Peter Shinton, who is also a geologist, said the fire was so significant that locals had been spotting new rock formations previously hidden by dense vegetation.
To help the community recover, the NSW government has donated $25,000 to the local council, in addition to disaster relief funds available from state and federal governments.
People affected by the fire will be able to claim $1000 assistance packages.