Firefighters are bracing for the worst as strong and erratic winds exacerbate conditions for crews battling the out-of-control bushfire on the South Coast.
The fire was upgraded to an emergency level warning about 2.45pm. By 6pm the fire had not calmed and was still threatening properties.
The fire has jumped Willinga Lake and hit the township of Bawley Point on Thursday afternoon. The fire is also spreading quickly through the Meroo National Park towards Lake Tabourie.
People in the Lake Tabourie area are advised to seek shelter as the fire approaches.
NSW Rural Fire Service operational officer Brad Stewart said there was significant fire movement in those locations.
"It's a fluid situation at the moment. We've got a southerly change slowly coming up the cost which will hopefully bring with it and increase in the relative humidity and a reduction in the fire behaviour," he said.
There are unconfirmed reports of properties lost in Bawley Point, Mr Stewart said.
He said the emergency warning would not be lifted until those who had chosen to stay had safe movement out of the path of the fire.
There are 230 firefighters currently fighting the blaze.
The fire is active in the areas of Kioloa, Pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach and Durras North. It is too late for residents to leave in those areas and are advised to monitor conditions.
The Currowan fire has burnt more than 55,000 hectares between Depot Beach, just north of Batemans Bay, and Termeil, south of Ulladulla.
As many as four homes have been destroyed since Wednesday, but the severe conditions have prevented crews confirming the extent of the damage.
Bawley Point Road is closed to people trying to reach the Princes Highway from the town as firefighters battle blazes around the district.
Bawley Point resident Jon Cleary, living south of Meroo Lake, put out spot fires on his property as the blaze edged on Willinga Lake nearby his home.
Flames on the lake edge roared as Mr Cleary watched the fire intensify.
"You can start to hear it now. You get that freight train noise."
Mr Cleary, who lived in Duffy during the 2003 Canberra fires, was alone defending his property from the blaze at Bawley Point.
He said it was almost a relief to have the fire get close after days of warnings and sleepless nights.
"You get more comfortable with it, the closer it gets to you," he said. "I'm just going to stay here, hang, and defend my property."
Firefighters have been working to cut down dangerous trees along the Princes Highway north of East Lynne and clearing them from the road during the day on Thursday.
The Princes Highway remains closed in both directions between the Kings Highway turn off and Burrill Lake.
Batemans Bay Primary School has been closed to students for the day.
The school has warned parents against misinformation about the bushfires circulating on social media.
Erratic winds have been seen across the fire due to the westerly winds hitting the mountains and nearby escarpment.
Forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology Helen Kirkup said turbulence in the air was being seen near the fire, causing some southerly winds to be seen in parts of the fire.
"You get turbulence on the lea of the ranges, so as the wind comes over the escarpment, it can do some funny things," Ms Kirkup said.
"As the wind comes over the plateau it loops around and can come in to the fireground as a southerly or an easterly and can create some erratic winds.
"The heat from the fire can also create its own kind of wind patterns as well."
Firefighters left spot fires at properties around Termeil and converged on Canberra businessman Terry Snow's property at Willinga Park to combat a blaze.
Visibility dropped as bushfire smoke intensified around Bawley Point and winds grew.
Crews were backburning near the property on Wednesday in an effort to stop the fire spreading towards the property and buildings where horses are.
Conditions across the fireground are expected to deteriorate further as the day goes on.
Hotter temperatures and lower humidity will be seen throughout the day until a southerly change later on Thursday afternoon, when conditions are expected to abate slightly.
However, fire crews have warned the southerly change could push the fire in a different direction.
Temperatures are expected to be in the high 20s to mid 30s throughout Thursday and into Friday.