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Art could help heal NSW town after fires

The indiscriminate wildfire that tore through the NSW south coast town of Mogo bears its scars on the blackened ruins of a brick building on the main drag.

The timber lolly shop next door - much more exposed to the fire front on New Year's Day - remains standing.

The cafe on the other side was also untouched.

The blaze thundered in from the north and devoured more than a dozen houses and small businesses in its path.

It then turned up a hill to wreak more havoc on people's homes and livelihoods.

Two-thirds of the shops further south down the strip were spared the cruel firestorm's wrath.

Sherrie Nye's house is still standing but she lost her job when the Aboriginal Land Council burnt down.

All that remains of the building is charred bits of brick and half-walls surrounding a gnarled pile of tin.

Twisted sheets of roof metal press hard against a car in the driveway, parts of the vehicle simply melted away.

Aboriginal art filled the building before it was reduced to ruins.

Ms Nye is urging disheartened members of the local indigenous community still reeling from the fires to start painting again.

"That's given us a way to release our anger and frustration," she told AAP in Mogo.

"We will build up bigger and better and stronger."

Ms Nye plans to set up a daily marquee to sell people's art if the building is not replaced by Easter, when the next big wave of visitors rolls in.

But for now, her immediate focus is on helping distribute donations over at the Boomerang Meeting Place to people badly hit by the fires.

"There are a lot of us in the same boat," she told AAP.

Ms Nye wants locals included in the massive clean-up effort as Mogo gets back to its feet.

In the longer term, she wants authorities to pay much closer attention to the community in managing forest that surrounds the town.

"We are not going to sit back and watch this happen again," Ms Nye said.

"We're grieving for people, we're grieving for their houses, and we're grieving for the wildlife."

© AAP 2020

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