Winds and soaring temperatures are creating extreme conditions across the South Coast, with almost every coastal town from near Nowra down to the Victorian border affected by emergency fires.
The fires burning from Nowra to Broulee are more than 300,000 hectares in size.
Two people have been confirmed dead at Cobargo and one person is unaccounted for west of Narooma.
The fires are moving aggressively and there are reports of multiple properties being alight.
Power and phone coverage between South Nowra to Moruya, and potentially beyond, has been lost.
Power is unlikely to be restored for at least 24 hours.
Much of the South Coast was expected to be without phone coverage or power for the next 24 hours.
A fire-generated thunderstorm has formed over the Currowan fire - burning from Batemans Bay to Nowra in the north - creating erratic winds and spreading the fires faster.
Thousands of South Coast residents and visitors have crowded evacuation centres and fled to beaches.
As residents and visitors contend with the fire danger, there are almost 18,000 properties without power.
Some towns inland of coastal areas have been hardest hit, according to NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, with reports of schools being impacted.
"We have got reports from the field that some of the most impacted areas are in the Cobargo area, Broulee, Mogo, Fisherman's Paradise," he said.
"But there is a list of areas right across those fire grounds where we are seeing fire spreading very aggressively and impacting onto communities, people's homes and other infrastructure."
As of 7pm on Tuesday there were three fires on the South Coast at emergency warning level. There were another three burning at emergency level in the Snowy Monaro and Snowy Valleys districts.
Fires between Bermagui and Narooma were burning at such ferocity that a fire-generated thunderstorm was formed. These fires headed towards Bermagui on Tuesday morning, with residents and visitors fleeing to the beach.
People in Bermagui were told they had until 2pm on Tuesday to head north.
The Clyde Mountain fire has also escalated and people in Batemans Bay, Malua Bay and Surf Beach have been warned by text message to seek shelter.
The evacuation point at the Hanging Rock Sports Club Function Centre in Batemans Bay was full on Tuesday morning after hundreds evacuated.
Tathra, Bermagui, Batemans Bay and Broulee surf life saving clubs have all been declared evacuation centres for people seeking refuge from the bushfires.
According to Surf Life Saving NSW, about 5000 people are being sheltered at Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club.
About 1500 of these people are locals. The remaining 3500 are visitors to the area and will require accommodation tonight.
Accommodation has been found for 550 of these people but 2000 people may be without accommodation.
More than 178 people in Tathra are facing the same predicament and the community is being asked to render assistance by providing blankets and accommodation where possible.
There was reports on Tuesday morning of spot fires near the Batemans Bay evacuation point.
Mr Allan said the RFS had received multiple reports that structures had been impacted near Batemans Bay.
As of 5.30pm on Tuesday this was the situation for fires burning on the South Coast:
- Clyde Mountain fire: Emergency warning. Strong southerly change has crossed the fireground. It is burning on the southern side of the Kings Highway in the Highway Buckenbowra and Runnyford areas. Fire activity is increasing. RFS earlier advised residents in the Buckenbowra, Runnyford, Nelligen , in coastal areas east of the Princes Highway from Batemans Bay to Broulee and in areas north of the Moruya River and Mogendoura that it was too late to leave.
- Badja Forest Road fire: Emergency warning. Strong southerly change has hit. Those in the area of Bermagui, Regatta Point, Wallaga Lake and Wallaga Lake Heights it is too late to leave, seek shelter as the fire approaches. Those in Cobargo of Coolagolite leave now towards Bermagui. If you are in the area of Quaama and Mcleods Hill are you are not prepared leave now. In areas west of the Princes Highway including Wandella, Upper Brogo, Yowrie and Verona it is also too late to leave.
- Big Belimba Creek fire: Emergency warning. Strong southerly change has passed through. Number of fires burning n the area of Big Belimba Creek and Bumbo Creek, in the Dampier State Forest, to the west of Nerrigundah and Bodalla. Those in the area of Nerrigungah, Tinpot, Cadgee, Eurobodalla, Tulinjah, Comerang and Bodalla are in danger and were urged to act now. Leaving towards Moruya was the safest option.
- Currowan fire: Emergency warning. Strong southerly has hit. It is too late to leave areas south of Nowra and west of the Princes Highway, in the areas north of Ulladulla, south of Nowra and The Bay & Basin area. Fire activity has increased in the areas of Yatte Yattah, Lake Conjola, Cunjurong, Manyana, Bendalong and Fishermans Paradise. It is too late to leave these areas.
- Charleys Forest fire: Watch and act level. A strong southerly change has hit. There is active fires in the area of Oallen Road, Nerriga Road and Charleys Forest Road areas, Tudor Valley Road area, Reidsdale area and Forest area and South of Monga Lane.
The fires have spurred the NSW RFS to issue an alert on social media that seven dangerous fires between Batemans Bay and the Victorian border posed a "serious threat to life".
Mr Allan said the general advice for those between Batemans Bay and the Victorian border was to take shelter towards the coast if it was safe to do so.
Canberran David Shearer was at Long Beach, north of Batemans Bay, where large clouds of smoke filled the air. He said flaming debris was falling from the sky.
The RFS has warned there is a chance coastal towns such as Batemans Bay, Ulladulla and Nowra could come under an ember attack on Tuesday.
Conditions for the fires are forecast to worsen with a wind change Tuesday afternoon that could cause fire behaviour to become "erratic", Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Abrar Shabren said.
Winds on Tuesday morning were blowing in a northwesterly direction with a front from the Tasman Sea expected to push winds in a south and southeasterly direction.
"With that change coming in, that can affect fire behaviour and the make the fire behaviour quite erratic," Mr Shabren said.
"That wind change can increase the head of the fire or the fire wall so that can be quite problematic."
Fires have forced a number of road closures. On Monday one of the last remaining routes from the South Coast to Canberra was closed with the Snowy Mountains Highway near Bega. It is closed from both directions between the Monaro Highway and the Princes Highway.
At 9pm the Princes Highway was closed in both directions at the following sections:
- South Nowra to Milton
- Batemans Bay to Moruya
- Cobargo to Brogo
The Cooma Road from Braidwood to Cooma was also closed.
NSW's Transport Management Centre also warned the Princes Highway between Nowra and Batemans Bay could close at any time on Tuesday.