An out-of-control bushfire is racing towards coastal homes near Batemans Bay on Tuesday night as firefighters fight to protect properties in emergency level conditions.
The fire was approaching Kioloa, Pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach and Durras North at 8pm as firefighters told residents to seek shelter and warned them it was too late to leave.
NSW Rural Fire Service said the fire had burnt 39,000 hectares and earlier on Tuesday confirmed the blaze destroyed at least one home.
Volunteers providing food at a fire service shelter at Bawley Point described smoke so thick it reduced visibility to about 100 metres.
At Australian National University's evacuated Kioloa campus, a live online video feed showed fires bearing down on the area.
The Currowan fire was upgraded to "emergency" level on Tuesday afternoon about 2.15pm after sitting at "watch and act" for most of the day.
Residents in Termeil, Flat Rock, Kioloa, Pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach and Durras North were told it was too late to leave.
People living in South Durras were advised to evacuate towards Batemans Bay if it was safe to do so.
NSW Rural Fire Service urged residents in areas west of Princes Highway between Termeil and East Lynne to monitor conditions, follow their bush fire survival plan and take advice from firefighters.
The fire spread quickly towards the coast in the area of Kioloa, Pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach and Durras North, and moved in an easterly direction towards Termeil.
It also hit areas around East Lynne.
Fire crews defended properties in Bundle Hill and protected others at Kioloa.
Princes Highway is closed between Burrill Lake and the Kings Highway turnoff, and police say it is possible Princes Highway will remain closed for several days due to the fire.
The weather bureau predicts winds will ease on Tuesday night but strengthen again on Wednesday morning before reaching 15 to 25 km/h in the middle of the day.
Meteorologist Gabrielle Woodhouse said the easterly winds reaching inland from the coast could intensify the fire on Wednesday.
On Thursday westerly winds are forecast to reach 35-40 km/h before a southerly change in the late afternoon.
Rural Fire Service spokesman Marty Webster said crews faced fallen and falling trees as the fire moved further east from the Clyde River and jumped Princes Highway at East Lynne on Monday night.
"We worked on a lot of properties around East Lynne last night and had a lot of success there, however fire has begun to increase in that area this morning," Mr Webster said on Tuesday.
"We are seeing a lot of large trees fall.
"A lot of the vegetation was stressed before the fire went through. One key reason for keeping road closures in place is the long list of fallen trees. That is a key safety concern for firefighters themselves.
"We have done really well so far; this has been a protracted fire and we have not had any reports of serious injuries and we want to keep it that way.
"Even after the main front moves through, the falling trees are a real hazard that should not be underestimated."
ANU's South Coast campus at Kioloa was evacuated due to the fire. University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said all staff and students at the campus were accounted for.
- With Batemans Bay Post.