Two volunteer firefighters who died while battling a firestorm southwest of Sydney have been hailed as heroes as NSW residents prepare for a day of "catastrophic" fire danger which is almost certain to raze more homes.
Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and 36-year-old Andrew O'Dwyer - who died on Thursday night when a tree fell into the path of their tanker near Buxton - were remembered as committed family men on Friday.
At the same time, authorities warned that the Greater Sydney, Illawarra-Shoalhaven and southern ranges regions face catastrophic danger on Saturday with temperatures set to soar into the mid-40s and hot, gusty westerly winds forecast.
The Greater Hunter and central ranges will experience extreme fire danger.
"Do not put yourself in harm's way tomorrow," NSW Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said on Friday.
"Do not put yourself near an isolated bush area. If your home is directly on the bush and it's not got a huge break you should think about relocating."
Dozens of homes have been destroyed in NSW in the past few days, taking the total to almost 800 so far this bushfire season and that number is almost certain to rise on Saturday.
Eight lives have been lost to date.
"It's a fairly sure thing we will lose homes somewhere tomorrow," Mr Rogers said during a press conference at RFS headquarters.
"It would be a miracle if we didn't."
Authorities are asking people to avoid holiday travel on Saturday because they don't want motorists stranded on major highways when fire fronts hit.
"Put your travel off," NSW Police deputy commissioner Gary Worboys said on Friday afternoon.
"Wait another day and you will find your travel will be much safer."
Mr Keaton and Mr O'Dwyer died after the huge Green Wattle Creek fire ripped through Buxton, Balmoral, Bargo and surrounds.
Residents who fled the fatal firestorm are anxiously waiting at evacuation centres to find out if their properties are among the dozens feared destroyed.
The doors of the Picton Bowling Club are spray-painted with the seasonal greetings "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year".
Hilltop local Ricky Hopkin has seen many locals in tears and when he asks if they're OK they say they're fine.
"But deep down I know they're not - how are you supposed to comprehend losing everything," he told AAP at the club.
"It's supposed to be a good time and it's actually a disaster. It's not too merry at the moment."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has cut short his family holiday in Hawaii and will return to Australia on Saturday after being criticised for taking a break while much of the east coast burned.
The Liberal leader on Friday said he "deeply regrets" any offence caused after going on vacation during the bushfire crisis.
There were 100 fires burning across NSW on Friday with half uncontained.
The Green Wattle Creek blaze and the Gospers Mountain megafire northwest of Sydney were downgraded from emergency level to watch and act on Friday evening.
Australian Associated Press