Fretting families and tireless firefighters have rung in the new year watching a cool change wreak further havoc across NSW's fatal firegrounds.
As fire authorities predicted the loss of multiple homes, a telecommunications outage left families on New Year's Eve unable to contact loved ones on the fire-ravaged south coast.
"No communication is a rarity in today's world so it's an uncomfortable feeling," Melbourne man Nic Baxter told AAP on Tuesday evening, as he waited to hear from his father in Batemans Bay.
"Fortunately, he is located in an area where I'm sure he is OK, but still very uncomfortable.
"I don't think I can celebrate NYE to be honest, too much on my mind thinking about the fires and family."
NSW Police earlier confirmed all power had been lost from South Nowra to Moruya and "potentially beyond", affecting at least 46,000 people and the supported telecoms network.
Fire conditions are expected to ease Wednesday after a cool change, bringing gusts of up to 80km/h and dry lightning strikes, crossed the state.
Before 7am no fires were at emergency warning level, but eight - including the 230,000-hectare Currowan blaze on the south coast and the 64,000ha Clyde Mountain fire ringing Batemans Bay - were at watch and act level.
Waterbombing aircraft helped efforts to stop a 250ha blaze reaching residential homes at Blue Haven on the Central Coast.
Total fire bans are in place for Southern Slopes, Southern Ranges and Central Ranges on Wednesday, ahead of predicted worsening conditions over the weekend.
Conditions set to worsen on Saturday
Authorities are preparing for what is expected to be a horror Saturday when conditions could be even worse than what crews faced on Monday and Tuesday.
“We are assuming that on Saturday weather conditions will be at least as bad as what they were yesterday,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters Wednesday morning. That is something all of us have to brace ourselves for.
“So at the very least, weather condition also be as bad as what they were yesterday and that's why all of our people on the ground, thousands of them, are taking advantage of the milder conditions to make us as well prepared as possible for Saturday.”
Multiple property losses have been confirmed along the NSW south coast but it will take several days to assess all the losses, the RFS says.
The towns of Fishermans Paradise, Broulee and Mogo, which is home to a popular zoo, have experienced significant damage.
At least 50 properties and structures in Conjola Park, a small town north of Ulladulla, have been lost.
“Conjola has certainly been identified as an area that has been heavily impacted by the fires and we're expecting a considerable toll in that area. As we are in a number of other locations up and down the coast,” NSW fire commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile major roads, including several parts of the Princes Highway linking south coast communities, are likely to remain closed for some time due to hazards.
Communities are also mourning three lives lost since Monday.
Firefighter Sam McPaul, and young father Patrick Salway and his dad, Robert Salway, died in two incidents in the state's south.
"We are broken," Renee Salway told friends via Facebook on Tuesday night after her husband's death was confirmed. "I will see you again Patrick, my best friend."
A 72-year-old man remains missing 50km north of Cobargo but police have been unable to safely reach his property.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to visit south coast communities on Wednesday after receiving a briefing at RFS headquarters.
Late on Tuesday, environmentalist Greta Thunberg weighed in on the NSW fires, tweeting the ironic hashtag (hash)ThisIsFine with a video of a fire front passing over a Fire and Rescue NSW crew's truck.
The crew from Fire and Rescue NSW Station 509 Wyoming recorded this video showing the moment their truck was overrun by the bushfire burning South of Nowra. The crew was forced to shelter in their truck as the fire front passed through. #NSWFires #ProtectTheIrreplaceable pic.twitter.com/Hb0yVrefi9— Fire and Rescue NSW (@FRNSW) December 31, 2019
The crew from Wyoming had been cutting a path along a dark, smoky road south of Nowra on Tuesday before the fire front closed in on their left flank and passed over them.
Two trucks nearby were destroyed in South Nowra in a similar incident but the firefighters inside were unharmed.
More than 100 fires were burning across NSW as of midnight on Wednesday, with over half of those uncontained.
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