Nearly 400 NSW Homes Lost In Deadly New Year's Eve Bushfires

Bushfire-ravaged communities in southern NSW will continue to assess the damage after seven lives and at least 382 homes were lost.

Tourists in the popular holiday region have been urged to leave as locals and authorities brace for severe and extreme fire danger on Saturday.

"Where roads can be accessed, we will be encouraging tourists, especially, to move out of those areas whilst it's safe to do so," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday.

Not all roads could be opened until trees and debris were cleared.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said conditions on Saturday would likely be worse than those on New Year's Eve, which left a trail of destroyed homes, businesses and utility lines up and down the south coast.

He confirmed on Thursday that the number of houses lost on New Year's Eve had climbed to 382 and could jump much higher as assessments are made.

"There's still a lot of the fire grounds that need to be surveyed and validated from the ground," Mr Fitzsimmons told the Nine Network.

"Of course there are a lot of other buildings, lots of other infrastructure, power infrastructure, telecommunications, all sorts of things have been affected."



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NSW Braces For Difficult Bushfire Conditions On Saturday

Firefighters are bracing for more difficult conditions with hot temperatures and strong winds forecast for already bushfire-ravaged communities on the NSW south coast.

He said extreme fire danger was likely on Saturday over more regions in southern NSW, overlapping with pre-existing destructive bushfires.

Setting containment lines would be the RFS priority until that time.

"We're expecting to see temperatures up into the high 40s, a westerly-northwesterly wind pattern will dominate which means it'll bring very hot, very dry air across the region," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

"That's going to result in some fairly widespread severe and more importantly, extreme fire danger ratings across this already heavily fire-affected area."

The RFS warned holidaymakers on the south coast to leave before Saturday and warned those planning to travel to cancel their trip. A "tourist leave zone" has been established from Batemans Bay to the Victorian border.

On Wednesday, police found three bodies in the fire-gutted communities of Sussex Inlet and Yatte Yattah.

Seven people have died since Monday, including a person found outside a home in Coolagolite, near Cobargo.

Buildings destroyed by fire are seen on the Main Street in Cobargo, NSW, Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Several bushfire-ravaged communities in NSW have greeted the new year under immediate threat. (AAP Image/Sean Davey) NO ARCHIVING

Coolagolite farmer Steve Shipton survived the same firefront but thought he "was gone" as, with burning eyes, he tried to save his family and his home.

"It's just unbelievable. The ferocity and how quick... That's what shocked me and that's why I thought we were in a good situation to survive," the soot-covered farmer told AAP on Wednesday.

A Belowra man, 72, remains missing, but an 81-year-old woman who was missing in Conjola Park has been located safe and well.

Tens of thousands of homes across the south coast are also without power after transmission lines were on Tuesday damaged.

"We have to make sure that when we restart the power, we do that with safety and confidence, that it will remain on," NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said.

Very high fire danger is forecast on Thursday for eight fire districts on or west of the Great Dividing Range while high fire risk is due for some coastal regions.

More than 110 fires are burning across the state, with more than 50 uncontained.

Since the start of July, at least 15 people have died and more than 1200 homes have been destroyed by bushfires in NSW. More than 3.6 million hectares - three times the size of Sydney's metro area - have been burnt.