Australia fires: Another person killed in New South Wales bushfire crisis

The Australian bushfires have claimed a fourth life.

Barry Parsons, 58, was found in burnt-out bushland in the town of Willawarrin in New South Wales.

The small town is home to just 300 people, and 26 homes there have burned to the ground.

Residents thought they had escaped without losing a neighbour, but today came the news no one wanted to hear.

"[We're] numb, totally numb," Willawarrin Hotel owner Karen Anderson told Newshub.

Parsons was a regular at the local pub. And locals are finding it hard to believe he won't walk through the door.

"[It's] really sad - you can't stop a fire," says Anderson.

Willawarran's heartbreak is just a snapshot of devastation all over the state.

It's only now with the fires still burning that the scale of the damage is becoming clear.  So many others are returning to the burnt remains of their homes - it's thought more than 300 houses are gone.

Two hours south in the town of Killabakh houses stood no chance against towering flames. 

"What I've seen today it's the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life and for them guys [sic] to drive that way, into it - mate, [they're] heroes," one local said.

Firefighters desperately tried to save the houses, and locals pitched in with hoses and water.

The sea of red in the night dissolved to charred destruction once daylight broke.

Fourteen more homes were lost in Queensland, where another emergency also took place - a waterbombing helicopter went down near Towoomba.

Losing power after dropping water, it crashed and rolled. The pilot was injured and taken to hospital, fortunate to escape with his life.

Too many others have not been so lucky, though - people and property gone forever.