Three Missing, Feared Dead In NSW South Coast Fires
Multiple fires are burning on the NSW south coast, with residents seeking shelter on the foreshore.
Three missing people in fires burning on NSW south coast are feared dead, a day after one of the state's volunteer firefighters died in a truck accident.
The three civilians are unaccounted for in NSW south coast townships of Cobargo and Belowra.
The Badja Forest fire tore through Cobargo on Tuesday morning and has headed towards Coolagolite in the east.
There are reports a school and several buildings have been lost in Cobargo.
Residents were initially told to evacuate to Bermagui to the north, but that town is now seeking shelter from the encroaching blaze.
Bermagui residents woke up to a pitch black sky and have since taken shelter on the foreshore.
Fires are also tearing through Batemans Bay, which reportedly lost power on Tuesday afternoon.
Extreme fire danger is forecast for the Southern Ranges, Illawarra and ACT on New Year's Eve while surrounding regions - including Sydney, the Hunter and the far south coast - are set for severe fire danger.
Strong westerly winds are expected, pushing fires east and placing coastal communities under threat.
Total fire bans are in place for more than half of the state's 21 fire districts including Sydney, while dozens of the state's near-100 blazes burn out of control.
In Sydney, strong dry winds, poor air quality and temperatures touching 33C are expected while the city's west will pass 40C.
Fire prediction maps suggest the Green Wattle Creek fire, which has already scorched 227,000 hectares, may cross the Hume Highway near Bowral, south of Sydney.
The Dunns Road fire near Tumut and the Badja Forest Rd fire near Cooma appear set to be among the blazes to expand most significantly.
Conditions are not set to ease until a southerly blows through on Tuesday afternoon.
The Green Valley fire, which is also threatening communities on the Victorian side of the Murray River, was one of eight NSW blazes subject to either emergency warnings or watch-and-act alerts on Monday evening.
Near the Charleys Forest blaze -- an offshoot of the massive Currowan fire -- boarding kennel operator Matthew Knight is preparing to evacuate for the third time this season.
While usually the busy season, Rovers Retreat has been at less than half capacity this Christmas due to the need to evacuate quickly.
"We're all girding our loins for tomorrow because it doesn't look good," the Rovers Retreat manager told AAP on Monday evening.
He said he was mainly relying on messages via his landline and neighbours due to broadband and mobile network outages.
"Those apps (Fires Near Me), you rely quite heavily on them and when it goes a bit pear-shaped there's not even a mobile signal," he said.