It has been a long and tough six months since the Currowan and Comberton fires tore through the South Coast.
After months of tireless work, Shoalhaven's Bushfire Recovery Committee is winding up.
Shoalhaven bushfire recovery coordinator Vince Di Pietro said the committee had done a formidable job.
"The recovery action plan had an aim to get the Shoalhaven back on its feet as quickly as possible and to leave the bushfire season being stronger, more resilient and better than the one that went into it," Mr Di Pietro said.
"We've done as much as we possibly can as a committee to energize the repair into recovery phase. We've achieved clearance of almost all bar literally a small handful of properties that have been eligible and approved to be cleared."
The recovery committee has had a lot of other significant achievements including recycling over 93 per cent of demolition waste.
In terms of the environment, over 1000 animal water and feed stations have been installed, 1.6 tons of food aerially dropped, installed 520m of coir logs and sandbags to stop sediment/ash movement into waterways as well as securing $1.4 million in grant funding for bushfire affected waterways.
For the committee it came to a point where all the referrals coming to them were "business as usual" for Shoalhaven City Council.
"That's where we are now, which is why we've decided that wrapping up the recovery committee as a formal fortnightly process is probably a good thing to do," he said.
Vince said it was a difficult decision to wind up the committee but there was a risk if it ran too long.
"That's not being disrespectful to those that are suffering by any stretch... we really understand well what people have gone through and are continuing to go through.
"So the decision to wrap it up was tough because you could sit there as well, let's just keep working.
"But in reality we'd probably be drawing resources away from where they would be better used, which is back in the council because it when all said and done, it's going to be the council that keeps homes from burning and keeps the processes running well into the future."
But the recovery committee members still haven't stopped doing their work, they've just removed the formal committee and regular meetings.
It certainly affects you, you can't hear and listen to the sorts of things that we were hearing and not be.Vince Di Pietro
Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley said there was a long way to go on the human recovery and praised the efforts of the recovery committee.
"I know we've got a really long way to go for the human recovery, because the human recovery is the biggest challenge for everybody," she said.
"When it comes to getting services back on track and cleaning up, there's been a remarkable effort over the last six months.
"It's quite amazing our recovery committee is now winding up and COVID has created lots of challenges for recovery particularly in the human space but it was good physical work around clean-up was still able to go ahead."
Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips recently questioned why 492 properties out of 916 registrations in the Shoalhaven were deemed "out of scope" by the NSW Government's contractor.
"To have almost 500 properties in one local government area denied access to this clean up really tells the story," Mrs Phillips said.
"Local families impacted by bushfires were assured by the NSW and Federal Governments that the clean-up of their properties would be free, but this clearly has not been the case.
"I find it absolutely shocking that, according to Shoalhaven City Council, more registrations were turned away than were approved."
Outside of the numbers, it was the personal stories that gave recovery coordinator Vince more motivation to do his job.
"It certainly affects you, you can't hear and listen to the sorts of things that we were hearing and not be," he said.
"If anything it gave me significantly more reason to keep my sleeves rolled up and get on with it.
"The whole recovery action team was terrific, they would they would often communicate and talk well into the night and across the weekends."
Although his formal involvement in bushfire recovery has wound up, Vince hopes to stay engaged.
He particularly wants to focus on resilience and readiness; how to better equip people and communities and how to provide small but necessary improvements to power and communications.
"The big challenge for us is actually in the amount of swelling that happens in our population over the summer.
"You know, places that in the middle of winter, have a couple of hundred people and blow out through many thousands in summer."
If you need assistance with bushfire recovery you can call the dedicated helpline on a 02 4429 5888.