Homes threatened as bushfire burns near southwest Sydney

A firefighter pulls a hose as an out-of-control grass fire burns at Holsworthy in Sydney Saturday

The fire continues to burn in an easterly direction towards Barden Ridge, but the threat has been reduced.

Local resident Jordan Dodin climbs onto a roof to protect the house from fire in Wattle Grove on Saturday night.

If a huge bushfire in Sydney's southwest on the weekend was deliberately lit, as authorities suspect, it's a "sickening and reprehensible" act of arson, the NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner says.

Residents in Voyager Point, Pleasure Point, Sandy Point, Alfords Point, Barden Ridge, Illawong, Menai and Bangor were told to be prepared to activate their bushfire survival plans should conditions change.

It tore through the Holsworthy military range and more than 500 personnel from the Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and the Australian Defence Force battled to protect properties.

The RFS at 7am said the easing conditions had allowed firefighters to begin back burning along Heathcote Drive.

Conditions are expected to aid the firefighting effort on Monday, with winds about half the strength they were on Sunday.

About 250 firefighters are still working to halt the fire while a fleet of 15 aircraft will water-bomb the "dynamic" firefront, Mr Fitzsimmons said.

By 5pm, some Menai residents were starting to relax.

Some remembered bad bushfires in the 1990s when homes were destroyed, and were determined to stay and extinguish embers or spot fires as they broke out.

"We had some very big fires here in 1994, we lost something like 20 homes", he said.

The blaze was downgraded from emergency level to watch and act about 5.30pm on Sunday as conditions began to ease.

The huge bushfire that blackened nearly 2,500 hectares of land in Sydney's south west over the weekend is believed to be the work of an arsonist.

"It's very unseasonal - the fire conditions we've been seeing - and obviously if that becomes the norm then we have to review the period of time that we have them", he said.

The RFS said there was very little rain forecast over the next few days across the fire ground and most parts of the state.

"How dare anyone in society think they can deliberately light a fire, endanger all these men and women - the vast majority who are volunteers - putting their lives on the line to try and bring these fires under control and, in turn, put so many members of the community (at risk)", the commissioner said.

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