As a bushfire raged in the Royal National Park this week, the family of Sydney man Matthew Leveson feared his memorial tree had been burnt to the ground.
The fire, which broke out on Monday afternoon, scorched bushland off McKell Avenue east of Waterfall – in the same area where police dug up Mr Leveson’s skeleton earlier this year.
Despite almost 190 hectares being razed before crews managed to contain the fire late on Wednesday afternoon, the memorial tree escaped unscathed.
In a Facebook post on Thursday morning, Mr Leveson’s mum, Faye, praised firefighters for their efforts – in particular the one who shared an image of the tribute with its balloons, flowers and signage intact.
“I have been worried sick that Matt’s memorial tree would have been burnt to the ground. You guys do an amazing job. Stay safe and many thanks again,” Mrs Leveson’s post said.
The picture was also shared on the ‘Justice for Matthew Leveson’ Facebook page.
Backburning operations carried out on Tuesday night and Wednesday helped firefighters contain the fire.
NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews will continue to patrol the fireground over coming days to mop-up and black out any remaining active fire.
Some trails in the Royal National Park remain closed, including the Uloola Falls track, the Couranga walking track and the Forest Path walking track.
McKell Avenue has been closed since the fire began and is expected to remain shut – between the eastern side of the Waterfall railway station and Lady Wakehurst Drive – until Friday afternoon.