Couple receive devastating bushfire news at mum's funeral, as fire death toll rises

A NSW couple have returned home from a family member’s funeral only to find their house burnt down.

Steve and Sharon Jackson told the Nine Network they were at a funeral for Mr Jackson’s mum when they received a number of fire alerts.

Ms Jackson told the program she rushed home with the couple’s eldest son to find the house south of Sydney had gone up in flames.

Sharon and Steve Jackson rushed from the funeral of Mr Jackson's mum to find their house on fire. Source: A Current Affair/ Nine Network

She said she let the animals out and noticed the back paddock was on fire. Three fire trucks arrived but it was “too late”, she said.

“Everything’s gone,” Mr Jackson said.

When asked where the family plan on living, Ms Jackson said “we have no idea”.

“We live in the unknown. I’ve never been through anything like this before so I have no idea what to do,” she said.

“This has always been full of love and laughter - and it’s gone.”

The Jackson family home was completely destroyed. Source: A Current Affair/ Nine Network

More than 100 fires burning across NSW

The NSW Rural Fire Service are hoping to just get through Saturday without lives being lost as they battle over 100 fires in extreme conditions.

Residents are being warned to be prepared to leave their homes early while holiday makers have been urged to reconsider their travel plans.

There is fear that the Princes Highway south of Nowra could be closed because of several fires in the region including the Currowan blaze.

A catastrophic fire danger has been declared for greater Sydney, the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions and southern ranges where several significant fires are burning, including some of which are out of control.

A firefighter tries to battle the Green Wattle Creek Fire near Tahmoor. Source: AAP

RFS deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said authorities were particularly worried about the Gosper Mountain fire in the Wollemi National Park which was on Saturday morning upgraded to an 'emergency warning' level.

It has already burned almost 450,000 hectares and joined up with two other fires.

"Areas around Kurrajong Heights, Bowen Mountain, Bilpin and where that fire gets to around Kurrajong Heights, when the southerly change starts pushing that fire north, we're worried about the impact of areas there," Mr Rogers said.

On Saturday morning, there were 111 fires burning across the state with high temperatures and winds and low humidity forecast.

The RFS said they were also concerned about the Grose Valley fire in the Blue Mountains, warning that it could hit Blackheath.

A house on fire in Buxton, NSW.

The Green Wattle Creek fire in the Southern Highlands is expected to affect areas in Bargo, Balmoral, Hill Top, Pheasants Nest, Colo Vale and could run all the way down to Mittagong.

Over 200 additional trucks from the NSW Fire and Rescue Service and RFS have been allocated on Saturday and residents are being urged to be prepared to leave.

"If you're somewhere you have to go down a single road, you're in a very heavily vegetated area, then our message is think very carefully about staying in that area," Mr Rogers said.

"And maybe, not necessarily evacuate, but go somewhere else in the heat, go to the beach, go to a shopping centre, go somewhere that's not bushfire prone.

"Firefighters will do their best to look after your house but we just want to get through the day with lives in tact."

Two lives claimed in South Australia

A second person has been confirmed dead after South Australia's day of devastating bushfires which led to 15 homes being destroyed along with other buildings and significant losses to stock and crops.

Premier Steven Marshall says a person died in the Charleston area of the Adelaide Hills where the most significant fire continues to burn.

It follows the death of a man in a road crash at Lameroo, which sparked a fire there while noted SA horse trainer John Glatz is in the Royal Adelaide Hospital with significant burns suffered while trying to protect his Adelaide Hills property at Woodside.

As well as the 15 homes destroyed across SA, 28 other buildings have also been lost along with 16 cars.

Crews douse flames at a home in the Adelaide Hills. Source: AAP

"My fear is this is only the tip of the iceberg. We haven't had a chance to get back in to assess the damage," Mr Marshall said.

"We know that in addition to the buildings and vehicles lost there are very significant losses in terms of livestock, animals, crops, vineyards.

"It is going to be a real scene of devastation, especially for those people in the Adelaide Hills who have been most affected."

Authorities have also confirmed that 23 firefighters and several police have suffered injuries, including one firefighter who remains in hospital in a serious condition.

Three Country Fire Service trucks were also destroyed.

Police have confirmed they are currently checking on the welfare of 90 to 100 people across the various fire grounds.

On Friday's day of catastrophic conditions more than 100 fires broke out before midday and have since destroyed about 40,000 hectares.

The remaining fires of most concern are the blaze in the Adelaide Hills and one burning along the north coast of Kangaroo Island.

Both are uncontrolled with fire crews and water bombers working to protect assets and establish control lines.

They believe both fires will continue to burn for several days.

Watch and act warnings remain in place though Country Fire Service chief officer Mark Jones said there was always the potential for those to be upgraded to emergency level should conditions deteriorate or the fire activity escalate.

With AAP

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