Five fires are burning at emergency levels in NSW as communities face a day of extreme fire risks from searing temperatures and strong winds.
Clyde Mountain fire is again at emergency level threatening areas north of Batemans Bay, Surfside, Long Beach, South Durras, Maloneys Beach and areas north of Moruya Rivers. It is too late to leave.
The Dunns Road and Doubtful Gap Trail blazes near Kosciuszko National Park have been upgraded to emergency levels.
The Inaloy Trail blaze, east of Cooma, has also been upgraded to emergency.
The Dunns Road blaze is threatening Batlow and it is too late to leave. The doubtful Gap Trail fire is spreading quickly and it is too late to leave Snowy Plains, Eucumbene Cove, Braemar Bay and surrounding areas.
About 2:30 on Saturday, NSW Rural Fire Service firefighters will travel through the ACT to respond to fires in southern NSW.
Drivers are being asked to be aware and more over safely to allow the firefighters to responds as quickly as poss
The fires burning in southern NSW do not pose an immediate threat to the ACT.
Roads from the South Coast have been clogged for the past two days by a mass exodus of holidaymakers heeding warnings to evacuate seaside towns and villages ahead of Saturday's catastrophic fire conditions.
Canberra, smothered by smoke for much of the past month, Friday became a haven for hundreds of weary travellers who endured the constant threat of flare-ups and lengthy delays.
In what is being described as the biggest evacuation in the nation's history, the Rural Fire Service ordered tens of thousands holidaymakers along the South Coast to leave, with predictions Saturday could bring bushfire conditions comparable to, or potentially worse than, those on New Year's Eve.
People were also being evacuated from areas to Canberra's south and west as huge blazes in and around Kosciuszko National Park continued to burn out of control.
The RFS issued an emergency alert late Friday, warning any remaining residents of Batlow that "it is too late to leave. Seek shelter as fire approaches".
Holidaymakers have also been told to evacuate areas including Jindabyne, Adaminaby, Berridale, Delegate, Providence Portal, Anglers Reach and Old Adaminaby.
While there were no fires burning in the ACT as of 10pm, the Emergency Services Agency has declared a state of alert and Saturday's fire danger rating has been raised to extreme.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that, given the scale of the fire threat, almost all ACT firefighting resources had been recalled.
"We have been very active in supporting firefighting efforts in New South Wales but from this point, we are bringing ACT resources back closer to home," Mr Barr said. "Around 95 per cent of our firefighters and volunteers have been returned to the territory in case of emergency."
The ACT government has established a respite centre for fire evacuees.
- Currowan fire(Shoalhaven): Watch and act. Burning from Batemans Bay to Nowra. Dangerous fire conditions expected on Saturday. Strong northerwesterly winds to push fire towards the coast, followed by a strong southerly change that will see fires move in a northerly direction.
- Clyde Mountain fire (Eurobodalla): Advice. Strong north westerly winds will push the fire towards the coast. A gusty southerly change is due later this afternoon which will push the fire in a more northerly direction.
- Badja Forest Road fire (Bega Valley): Watch and act. An inversion layer is now lifting. Weather is starting to worsen and fire activity is increasing. Strong north westerly winds will push the fire towards the coast. A gusty southerly change is due later this afternoon which will push the fire in a more northerly direction.
- Werri Berri: Watch and act. The fire is burning to the north of Bemboka. Strong north westerly winds will push the fire towards the coast. A gusty southerly change is due later this afternoon which will push the fire in a more northerly direction.
- Dunns Road (Snowy Valley): Emergency warning. Fire activity is increasing south of Snowy Mountains Highway in Ellerslie Range near Kunama & Laurel Hill to Talbingo. If you are in or near Batlow it is too late to leave. Seek shelter as fire approaches. . The fire is burning south of the Snowy Mountains Highway in the Ellerslie Range near Kunama and Laurel Hill towards Talbingo. If you are planning to visit or travel through this area today, it is not safe. Do not be in this area.
- Adaminaby Complex (Snowy Monaro): Watch and act. Strong north westerly winds will push the fire towards the coast today. A gusty southerly change is due later this afternoon which will push the fire in a more northerly direction. There is also a chance of thunderstorms. A number of fires bush fire are burning in remote terrain.
- The Inaloy Trail (Snowy Monaro) east of Cooma: Emergency. The fire is burning to the north of Numerella in a south-easterly direction. If you are in the areas of Peak View, Numerella, and Countegany it is too late to leave.
- North Black Range (west of Braidwood): advice
The Chief Minister said arrangements were being made to provide facilities for any Canberrans forced to leave their homes if fire encroached on the city.
"We of course recognise that people are anxious about the possibility of evacuations in the ACT, if needed," Mr Barr said.
"At this stage though there are no active threats to the ACT and these facilities are not required at this time [but can be] stood up at short notice".
The preparations in Canberra came as authorities confirmed the New South Wales bushfire death toll had risen to 16, including eight since last Monday, after the body of a person, believed to be a 72-year-old man missing since New Year's Eve, was found in a burnt-out vehicle near Belowra.
The tally of destruction wrought by the fires of the South Coast has grown as RFS teams moved into burnt-out areas.
Since January 1, 449 homes have been destroyed, lifting the state-wide toll since the start of the fire season to 1365 houses, 2339 outbuildings and 100 facilities lost and a further 1571 damaged.
The disaster is still unfolding, with weary fire crews along the South Coast backburning and clearing ground in an effort to build and strengthen fire containment lines ahead of Saturday's dangerous conditions.
Two major bushfires are currently burning out of control on the South Coast.
The Currowan fire, burning between Batemans Bay and Nowra and east of Braidwood, was at watch and act level last night.
Conditions at the Badja Forest Road fireground, which is inland of Bermagui and Narooma, remain dangerous.
The RFS is predicting the Badja Forest Road fire could spread east to the towns of Bermagui and Narooma, and north towards Moruya on Saturday. If the prediction proves correct, Badja Forest and Currowan fires would go close to merging.
Aside from the toll in lives and homes lost, the fires - coming at the peak of the summer holiday season - are also inflicting significant economic damage.
The usually bustling streets and beaches of South Coast holiday towns were eerily quiet on Friday as thousands of tourists and locals heeded warnings to evacuate the area.
While traffic on major roads out of the area was heavy on Friday, businesses up and down the coast reported a big drop-off in trade as communities braced for soaring temperatures and strong winds to sweep the area on Saturday.
Temperatures in Batemans Bay are forecast to reach 41 degrees, while Bega is expecting a top of 43 degrees.
Alika Hall, who works at the Moruya Caltex service station, said the volume of traffic passing through the town had slowed sharply during the day on Friday after the exodus of holidaymakers leaving the coast through Thursday and into the early hours of Friday morning.
Ms Hall said it was not just tourists who were evacuating.
"Local people are leaving, evacuating their homes," she said. "A lot of people are very, very worried for tomorrow [Saturday]."
Up the coast at Nowra, Shoalhaven Caravan Village manager Fiona Austin said all the tourists at her park had left and only permanent residents remained.
Ms Austin said several locals whose properties backed onto bushland had moved their caravans to the park to provide somewhere to stay in case the massive Currowan blaze, which has burnt through more than 260,000 hectares, jumped the Shoalhaven River.
Nearby at St Georges Basin, The Country Club duty manager Chris Lane said most tourists cleared out following a community meeting at which RFS officials told people that if they did not have to be there, they should go.
Business had been normal until New Year's Day, but had quietened since, he said.
Those trying to leave the coast had to grapple with fuel shortages and long and frustrating delays. During Thursday night, the Princes Highway was closed intermittently as backburning operations were carried out, causing lengthy delays.
Traffic was particularly heavy between Ulladulla and Sussex Inlet. One Nowra local reported that the trip from Ulladulla, usually 45 minutes, took him four hours.