Her thoughts were first and foremost with the families of those who had died and others who are missing, Ms Sparks said. “The worst thing is that we have lost family and friends and we are all very upset,” she said.
The mayor said the small community of about 100 people is in shock with five people having suffered burn injuries.
Some people remained as the firestorm bore down, and managed to save their properties, Ms Sparks said.
“Everybody knows each other and there are people missing that we haven’t able to contact. It’s very worrying.”
It is thought some 20 properties have been destroyed including the local primary school.
Ms Sparks has no doubt global warming is increasing the number of fires and their intensity.
“We are so impacted by drought and the lack of rain,” she said. “It’s climate change, there’s no doubt about it. The whole of the country is going to be affected. We need to take a serious look at our future.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday was asked whether this year’s unprecedented fires were linked to climate change.
“My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families, the firefighters who are fighting the fires (and) the response effort that has to be delivered,” he told reporters in Sydney.
NSW Police are investigating after a body was found in a burnt-out car in the Diehard area some 50 kilometres east of Glen Innes on Saturday.
Separately, a woman who was found severely burned at a Diehard property on Friday evening, has since died in a Sydney hospital.
Deputy commissioner Gary Worboys says “a number of people remain unaccounted for in the New England area”.