The bodies of an elderly couple have been found in the smouldering rubble of their home that was destroyed by bushfire.
The remains of the 77-year-old man and 69-year-old woman were discovered inside a house in Coongbar in northern NSW on Thursday.
The couple were last seen at their home on Deadman Creek Road before the deliberately lit fire reduced it to a pile of rubble on Tuesday.
A desperate search is underway for a couple missing after their home was destroyed by bushfires raging through northern NSW
Liam McKenzie inspects the remains of his house which was destroyed by bushfires in Rappville, NSW, along with 20 others
Police, firefighters, and SES volunteers arrived at their house on Wednesday night in a desperate search for the couple and found it had burned down.
NSW Police and specialist forensic officers returned to the home on Thursday morning and found their bodies inside the ruins.
A post-mortem examination will be conducted to officially identify the bodies and the cause of death
Police said they would keep the families of the missing man and woman apprised of developments in the case.
Superintendent Toby Lindsay earlier said police were worried about the two missing people after the fire destroyed 21 homes in the area.
'We always hope for the best but we've obviously got to treat it at its worst. We've seen the devastation in town. It's a very large fire and it's still active,' he said.
Superintendent Toby Lindsay said police were worried about the two missing people after the fire destroyed 21 homes in the area
Teams are still assessing how many properties have been lost or damaged in the suspicious blaze which is believed to have started in the Busbys Flat area on Friday night
Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said police and firefighters were working with the family and local community to find the missing couple.
'We had 13 to 15 people unaccounted for yesterday. We're down to two people at the moment,' he said.
'Obviously we have concerns for their welfare, but we're still working through a process to identify where they might be.'
Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow on Thursday morning confirmed a handful of people were still unaccounted for.
'We have still got some people missing and the longer that goes on the more concerning it gets,' he told the ABC.
'I would ask people, if you've vacated your property, please go down to the evacuation centre (and) register.'
The mayor said the loss of a local timber mill would hurt 30 employees and have a 'big impact on our community'.
Police are hunting for whoever may have deliberately the fire in what NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott described as a 'bastard act'.
Commissioner Fitzsimmons said in the absence of any other obvious cause the blaze was being treated as suspicious.
'We've got to call it out - it's a heinous crime, a criminal act,' he told the 9 News.
Police are hunting for whoever may have deliberately the fire in what NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott described as a 'bastard act'
RFS Commissioner Fitzsimmons said in the absence of any other obvious cause the blaze was being treated as suspicious
Strikeforce Cleander has been formed to investigate the cause of the fire.
NSW Police district commander Superintendent Toby Lindsay said the strike force 'will leave no stone unturned so we can provide answers for the rural communities impacted by this disaster'.
Rapville residents who've lost everything are picking over the remains of their lives, as others offer quiet thanks their homes in the tiny rural hamlet were saved.
Naomi Elwell's house is still standing but