On New Year's Eve, John Arronis watched the bushfire travel within a few kilometres of his Tumbarumba property.
"You could see it one paddock over, looking out the window we said, 'there it comes'," Mr Arronis recalls.
He was lucky then, and he is lucky now. His property survived that first onslaught and the devastating events of the weekend.
Similarly with Glenn Lavis, who has been a long-term resident and "man on the land" in Tumbarumba.
But they still have not been saved from witnessing the horrors.
"I saw what no-one would want to see," Mr Lavis said, describing the graphic scene that confronted him on New Year's Day after the first fire had passed through.
"My neighbour's livestock were burnt, I went out to help them put them down. It's horrific, you don't want to witness that."
Now living indefinitely with friends and family in Wagga, the two men say their thoughts are constantly with those who stayed behind to save their town.
"The RFS and the town firefighters have done an exceptional job. With the cops, they haven't had a rest at all, and they've saved it. They're the heroes," Mr Arronis said.
"Because they stayed, we have something to go back to at all.
"I've got friends who are there right on the firing line, and I'm thinking about them all the time."
A chef by trade and having only relocated to Tumbarumba in the past five years, Mr Arronis said he has been overwhelmed by the support of not only his employer but relative strangers in the town.
"The publican down at the Union Hotel, Martin Wilton, he sent his family away but he stayed to keep the firies fed and accommodated," Mr Arronis said.
"Coming from Sydney, I've never experienced this before. I have never seen this kind of community that's coming from both our town and from Wagga. It's humbling and you've just got to say thank you.
"If anything ever happens here [in Wagga], we'll return the favour."
I don't show a lot of emotion, but my old man is down there and I'm worried.Glenn Lavis
Particularly in front of mind for Mr Lavis is his own father. Aged in his mid-70s and with significant health complications, Mr Lavis said he stayed behind to protect his beloved livestock.
His homestead has also become a refuge for the animals of other displaced people in the town.
"He's been in communication with his partner, so I know he's fine, but I haven't heard from him," Mr Lavis said.
"He knows I'm out and I'm alright. But he's not well, he's on dialysis and he's only got one kidney to work with, so I'm worried. Of course, I am.
"I don't show a lot of emotion, but my old man is down there and I'm worried."
With Tumbarumba still cut-off from basic services, and with a chance the fire might return with the forecast of more adverse weather conditions, Mr Lavis and Mr Arronis are facing an anxious wait.
"When we go back, that's when the real trauma starts for a lot of them," Mr Arronis said.
"That's when we really have to look after each other."
When that moment does come, both the men say they will do whatever it takes to help their town recover.
"I can help with stock needs, I can help build fences, I can drive machinery," Mr Lavis said.
Mr Arronis adding: "And I'm a chef, I can cook for them, for anyone who's helping out."
"There are so many people who have lost so much, we've been so lucky so we just want to get back and do whatever needs to be done," Mr Arronis said.