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A father and son are dead, and hundreds are sheltering as bushfires devastate the NSW south coast.

Panicked locals are sheltering on the NSW south coast as bushfires create giant plumes of black smoke likened to “armageddon”.

Bushfire conditions are deteriorating as a southerly sweeps through the state and pushes raging blazes northwards, opening new fire fronts.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed two people, a father and son, have died in the small coastal town of Cobargo, and another is missing.

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley said as many as 300 people are sheltering at the Ulladulla Civic Centre from the 227,000-hectare Currowan fire.

The blaze, which has been burning for weeks, has now generated its own thunderstorm, causing dry lightning, spiralling smoke and rapid fire spread.

“We’ve got a lot of people who are very anxious and concerned about what’s going on,” Ms Findley told AAP.

“The wind change has just hit and that is absolutely a concern.

“The air quality here is OK but we can see smoke from other places – it’s like an armageddon smoke cloud to the north.”

The NSW Rural Fire Service says it is too late to leave for those in Ulladulla and south of Nowra, while Broulee and Fishermans Paradise have been scorched.

Residents have evacuated to the beach in the town of Batemans Bay, which is surrounded by the Currowan fire to the north and the 31,000-hectare Clyde Mountain fire to the south and east.

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Both fires are burning at an emergency warning level.

Mogo Wildlife Park director Chad Staples says staff have been working to shelter animals from the Clyde Mountain fire.

“Any species that was small or in an area that we couldn’t protect – we caught up,” Mr Staples told the ABC.

“Right now in my house there are animals of all description that are safe and protected.

“For the dangerous animals – the lions, tigers, orangutans – we encouraged them to the night den and kept them calm to protect them at that site.”

There has been good news for the residents of Mallacoota, where around 4000 people have spent the morning sheltered on the beach amid apocalyptic scenes.

“The wind change has gone through and it’s now bypassed that town,” Chief Fire Officer Steven Warrington told 9News.

… And there’s more.

Mamamia Out Loud, our bi-weekly podcast, is coming to Melbourne for a live show, with 100 per cent of all ticket proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross disaster relief and recovery fund.

It’s a brand new show, full of laughs and news and opinions and a few special surprises, with Mia Freedman, Holly Wainwright and Jessie Stephens, on February the 11th. You can buy tickets right now at mamamia.com.au/events. See you there! 

With AAP.

Feature Image: Twitter/Emma Magenta/Nguyen News/Tom Swann.

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