PETER Southwell calls it a miracle.
As he stands in his blackened paddocks, the 65-year-old Yass grazier explains only seven of his sheep were killed by the fire.
Amazing, considering the fact the fire scorched 90 per cent of his 450-hectare property, "Fairview", which is home to no less than 2100-head of Merinos.
The Vietnam veteran had moved some sheep the day before the fire swept over his land at 10km/hr earlier in the week.
Other sheep found refuge in the spots where they sleep -- mostly hills worn bare during years of use long before the fire arrived.
"At 2am in the morning, after fighting the fire, I went for a drive and all of a sudden I could see these eyes in the headlights,'' Mr Southwell said.
"It was the sheep."As of Saturday he was keeping an eye out for so-called flare ups. It was a job he was expecting to do for many weeks.
"It's not really over until we get the next hit of rain," he said, explaining logs could smoulder and set alight leaves which land on them.
The fire has so far grown to 14,000 hectares.
About 130 bales of feed, both big and small, have been donated to him: a gift he is extremely grateful for, particularly because it has arrived so quickly.
He is in the process now of building a feedlot so he can buy in food for his stock until the paddocks are green again.
But it will be expensive. Barley at the moment costs $260/tonne and he has already ordered 20 tonnes. Another of the bigger jobs is the replacement 25-kilometres of fences, at least some of which he will do himself.
For the people of the Yass region on Saturday it seemed there were more good news stories to come.
As of late Saturday afternoon the fire had managed to keep its "being controlled" status, and if there were no unforseen breaks in the perimeter, it was expected to be downgraded to "controlled" on Sunday.
This was according to Peter Dyce, the NSW Rural Fire Service's spokesman for the area who described Saturday as "the day we were going to discover our fate".
This was despite variable winds in the afternoon which could have made controlling the fire difficult.
Winds did increase ahead of the southerly change with smoke affecting the Bookham area. As a result of this change fire activity has increased with aircraft assiting in water bombing hotspots.
On Saturday morning Mr Dyce was worried if the fire broke containment lines it might move toward Murrumbateman or Yass.