Talbingo holiday home owner Dushan Ristevski never expected to find his beloved lakeside getaway still standing after the Dunns Road bushfire claimed other buildings in town.
"The home is a holiday home that we built 10 or 15 years ago and we spend a lot of time there at Talbingo," Mr Ristevski told The Daily Advertiser on Sunday.
"We go for a walk and skiing and fishing. It's quite a nice place and we love it but now the forests are all naked.
"The trees are all burned like a disaster, like an atomic bomb went through Talbingo."
Mr Ristevski's holiday home away from Sydney suffered a scorched wall and melted air conditioning unit but one of his neighbours lost their entire house.
"We came in after the bushfire because we were not allowed in while the village was burning," he said.
"We were shocked for our next door neighbour, who unfortunately lost her whole home.
"We give thanks to the volunteers as they saved our property."
Mr Ristevski said he was now working to "clean up, recover and look forward" but the bushfire had left a huge impact on the town.
"I think people are very down, they are depressed and they are in shock from the fire," he said.
"It was devastating. Speaking to the locals here, they have never experienced that before and they were lucky to have survived.
"We were surprised that our house was still standing, it was like a miracle thanks to the firefighters. According to the locals, they were constantly spraying down the houses to prevent further disaster."
Talbingo has been under threat since the early days of the Dunns Road bushfire, suffering ember attacks driven by strong winds.
On Sunday, Riverina Highlands Rural Fire Service was advising people to stay away from the town until it had cleared the post-bushfire dangers but the actual fire was "no longer a threat".
"Residents may see smoke from nearby fire activity but should not be alarmed," the RFS posted on Facebook.
"People are advised to remain away from the area until it has been deemed clear of safety risks such as falling burnt out trees."
Mr Ristevski said the "real heroes" were the firefighters.
"They saved out house and saved lives as well. They should be thanked and remembered," he said.