New land clearing laws, brought in following the horror October 2013 bushfires which destroyed 200 Mountains homes, have made it easier for residents in at-risk areas to clear trees near their homes.
But some Blue Mountains residents are far from happy about the move.
The "10/50 laws" were passed by the NSW Parliament in June and came into effect last month. It means home owners no longer need to get clearance from council when clearing vegetation within 50 metres of their home and trees within 10 metres.
Mt Riverview scientist Eli Bendall says the result has seen a "tree clearing epidemic in the Lower Mountains" and calls it "sickening".
"On my small street in Mt Riverview, 15 mature eucalypts trees have been cut down on several properties over the fortnight. There are huge piles of wood chips. One house even cleared almost all of their magnificent grey gums.
"Do people realise the ecological damage they are doing by reducing the connective corridors between houses and streets?" he asked.
Mr Bendall, 27, an ecologist, asked why people moved to the Mountains "in a quiet bushy area, with an abundance of wildlife, and then cut down all their trees". He said the laws went too far and "that the government has not thought this through properly".
"Our letterbox has been spammed with brochures from tree lopping outfits, advertising 'group rates' if you join your neighbours in clearing native vegetation.
"If people are not willing to compromise with nature, they should move to a suburb with no trees, a housing estate or the city."
However, the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Stuart Ayres, said the moves assisted and strengthened the Rural Fire Service Act and gave certainty to landowners.
He said they were developed in "consultation with local councils, relevant experts, stakeholders, community groups and the public, including the statutory 21-day public consultation period".
The Mountains had "some of the most bushfire prone land in Australia" and the 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement ... based on current Bushfire Prone Maps ... provides homeowners living near bushfire prone land with the means to better prepare for bushfire" and "balances community safety with environmental concerns".
Some Sydney councils say the laws are being misused by residents to improve their views.
When asked about the issue on the Gazette's Facebook page, resident Lauren Griffin, wrote: "A house few streets down from me cleared some trees. It's unintentionally given me stunning valley views. (Cheers neighbour, you just increased my house value!) So yes, I wouldn't be surprised if they were clearing them not so much for safety but for views."
Another, John James Hughes, said the move "will reduce essential interaction between Rural Fire Service personnel, who are the experts who can give the best advice, and landowners and occupiers".
But ex-Upper Mountains RFS member, Mark Dilligaff Bailey, wrote "it was only by a grace of god that no one fighting that fire when it hit Mt Victoria was killed. I agree there will always be those that will use the laws to benefit themselves financially, however the lives of the residents and those fighting the fires must take precedence over everything else."
The bushfire season started on Monday - a month early - with Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons saying he would listen to "deliberate abuse of the 10/50 legislation" but the overwhelming feedback in affected communities had been "about time".
Mr Ayres said anyone with concerns about preparing their home for the upcoming season or questions regarding 10/50 could contact their local Fire Control Centre. The RFS will fully review the laws within a year.