The linking of the boys to the start of those fires has come as "quite a shock to the local community, to authorities and to the fire crews who have been working so hard to put these fires out," said Cameron Price, a reporter from Sky News Australia.
One volunteer firefighter, Michael Green, reported making a harrowing drive through the fire lines to his home in the mountain town of Dargan.
He said he and his wife could feel the intense heat through their windows. The fire had passed, but burned trees were still glowing red and the hot spots "were still quite severe," he said.
"It was a bit risky, but I had to get home to see if the house was all right, and the dog," Green said. They were.
"It's just a lucky wind change," said Green, who shot video of his dash through the burned-out countryside on Thursday. "The winds were blowing right up, and at the last minute, they changed into a southerly, which took it away from the actual house."
At least one death has been reported. A 63-year-old man died of a suspected heart attack Friday while defending his home against a blaze on the New South Wales Central Coast, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, or ABC, reported.
Walter Lindner collapsed while working alongside his neighbor to save his heritage-listed homestead, according to ABC.